Born In: Lanús, Argentina
Excellent dribbling action, powerful assists, accurate passes, and impressive footwork made Diego Maradona rise up to the ranks, within a short period, to become the greatest football player of all time. Argentina’s national hero and pride, this exceptionally talented young man was born to play the sport. As such, despite coming from a humble background with a lack of financial stability, he made his way to the football field at the age of ten and made his professional debut by 16. His compact physique and great physical strength gave him the edge over other players and helped him achieve the pinnacle of success. In a career spanning over 21 years, he rose from being an inexperienced club player to the most coveted soccer player. He scored 34 goals in 91 international appearances. It was through his sheer display of brilliance on the field that he was awarded the FIFA Player of the 20th Century award. He is the only player to appear sixteen times as the captain of a World Cup team, which in itself is a World Cup record.
Nick Name: D10s
Also Known As: Diego Armando Maradona
Died At Age: 60
Spouse/Ex-: Claudia Villafañe (m. 1984–2003)
father: ‘Chitoro’ Diego Maradona
mother: ‘Doña Tota’ Dalma Salvadora Franco
siblings: Hugo Maradona, Raúl (Lalo)
children: Dalma Maradona, Diego Fernando Maradona Ojeda, Diego Sinagra, Giannina Maradona, Jana Maradona
Partner: Veronica Ojeda
Born Country: Argentina
place of death: Dique Luján, Argentina
Cause of Death: Cardiac Arrest
awards: 1986 - FIFA World Cup Silver Boot
1990 - FIFA World Cup Bronze Ball
1986 - United Press International Athlete of the Year
1986 - Olimpia de Oro
1979 - South American Footballer of the Year
1980 - South American Footballer of the Year
1979 - Footballer of the Year of Argentina
1980 - Footballer of the Year of Argentina
1981 - Footballer of the Year of Argentina
1986 - Footballer of the Year of Argentina
1979 - FIFA U-20 World Cup Golden Ball
1986 - World Soccer Player of the Year
1986 - FIFA World Cup Winning Captain
1986 - FIFA World Cup Golden Ball
1986 - FIFA World Cup Team of the Tournament (Midfielders)
1990 - FIFA World Cup Team of the Tournament (Midfielders)
1988 - Serie A top scorers
1978 - Primera División top scorers
1978 - Primera División top scorers
1979 - Primera División top scorers
1980 - Primera División top scorers
1981 - Primera División top scorers
1979 - Argentina squad FIFA World Youth Championship Winners (1st Title)
1986 - Argentina squad FIFA World Cup Winners (2nd Title)
1987 - Argentina squad Copa América Fourth Place
1989 - Argentina squad Copa América Third Place
1990 - Argentina squad FIFA World Cup Runners-up
1994 - Argentina squad FIFA World Cup
2010 - Argentina squad FIFA World Cup
- FIFA 100 (CONMEBOL)
- World Team of the 20th Century (Forwards)
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Diego Maradona was born to 'Chitoro' Diego Maradona and ‘Doa Tota’ Dalma Salvadora Franco. He has three elder sisters and two younger brothers. His family was a close-knit one but suffered from poor financial conditions.
He took to playing soccer from a very tender age. His phenomenal talent soon caught the attention of a talent scout who inducted him into Los Cebollitas, the junior team of Buenos Aires's Argentinos Juniors.
He led Los Cebollitas to a 136-unbeaten streak, displaying his prodigious capability and talent.
In 1976, a little before his sixteenth birthday, Diego Maradona made his professional debut with Argentinos Juniors. In his five years of association with the club team, he made 167 appearances and scored 115 goals.
His proper international debut came on February 27, 1977, against Hungary.
His first senior goal came in a match against Scotland at Hampden Park on June 2, 1979. Argentina won the match by 3-1.
In 1979, he played for Argentina in the FIFA U-20 World Cup and helped the team win the tournament. He was the star of the tournament and won the Golden Ball award as the tournament's best player.
In 1981, he was transferred to Boca Juniors for 1m. It was while playing for the club team that he secured his first league championship medal.
In 1982, he played his first World Cup tournament. Despite being defending champions, Argentina did not perform to expectations and was ousted by the tournament in the second round, losing to Brazil and eventual winners, Italy.
Following the loss at the World Cup, he was transferred to FC Barcelona in Spain for a world record fee of 5m. Though he went on to win the Copa del Rey and Spanish Super Cup for the club, throughout his tenure, he suffered from ill health and injury.
In his two seasons with Barcelona, he scored 38 goals in 58 games. However, a dispute with the club president and team director led to his transfer to Napoli in Italy's Serie A for another world record fee, of 6.9m.
His association with Napoli was the most fruitful of all and brought successful results for both himself and the club. Not only did he reach the pinnacle of his career, but assisted the club in enjoying immense success and victory.
He led the club to win the Serie A Italian Championships twice in 1986-87 and 1989-90. Additionally, Napoli efficiently attained the Coppa Italia in 1987, the UEFA Cup in 1989, and the Italian Super Cup in 1990. In the 1987-88 and 1988-89 Serie A Italian Championships, the club was placed in the second position with him being the top scorer in 1987-88.
Meanwhile, at the 1986 FIFA World Cup, he led Argentina to victory. Throughout the tournament, he led his team from the front and asserted his dominance in every game. He scored 5 goals and five assists and played a crucial role in the quarter-finals, semi-finals, and finals against England, Belgium, and West Germany respectively.
In the 1990 FIFA World Cup, he continued his role as a captain of the Argentina team, with the only difference being he was less dominant. He led his team to a World Cup final against West Germany but unlike 1986, he could not replicate the success as his team lost by 1–0. This marked the steep decline of the once flourishing career.
In 1991, he received a 15-month suspension after testing positive for using cocaine.
In 1992, he left Napoli to join Sevilla of Spain, where he played for a year. The following year he played for Newell's Old Boys.
In the 1994 FIFA World Cup, he played just two games scoring one goal before being ousted for failing an ephedrine drug test. This also marked an end to his international career which spanned 17 years. In the 91 games that he played, he scored 34 goals.
In 1995, he returned to Boca Juniors and played with the club for two years, before announcing his retirement in 1997 on the eve of his birthday.
In 2008, he was appointed as the head coach of the Argentina national team, a position he served for eighteen months until the 2010 World Cup.
He joined the Argentine Primera D club Deportivo Riestra in 2013 as its ‘spiritual coach.’ In 2017, he was appointed the head coach of the Fujairah Football Club. However, he left the position at the end of the season. In May 2018, he became the president of Dynamo Brest, a Belarusian football club. However, in September of that year, he joined the Mexican football club Dorados as manager. He resigned from his position in June 2019 due to health reasons.
In September 2019, he was appointed the head coach of the Argentine club ‘Gimnasia de La Plata.’ He briefly left the club in November but returned to coaching the club two days later. He remained the head coach of Gimnasia de La Plata until his passing in November 2020.
He won the Golden Ball award at the 1986 FIFA World Cup.
In 1999, he was bestowed with the Diamond Konex Award, which was one of the most prestigious cultural awards in Argentina from the Konex Foundation, Argentina, for being the ultimate sports star of the decade.
He was adjudged the ‘FIFA Player of the Century’ award in 2000, along with Pele. He acquired the majority of the votes at 53.6% against Pele's 18.53%. However, the latter was voted by the ‘Football Family’ committee.
His second goal against England in the quarter-final match during the 1986 World Cup was voted as the ‘Best Goal Ever Scored in World Cup’ in the 2002 FIFA poll. The following year, the Argentinos Juniors named its stadium after him.
In 2010, the Times chose him as the Greatest 10 World Cup Players of all time.
Diego Maradona walked the aisle with his long-time sweetheart Claudia Villafane on November 7, 1984. The couple was blessed with two daughters, Dalma Nerea and Giannina Dinorah. The couple divorced in 2004. During the proceedings, he confirmed having an illegitimate son, Diego Sinagra, who presently is a footballer in Italy.
He was blessed with another son, Diego Fernando, in 2013 from his ex-long-term partner Veronica Ojeda.
From the 1980s until 2004, he remained a drug addict, which negatively affected his health and performance. Though he relocated to Cuba and tried following a drug rehab plan, things did not seem to improve as he suffered a major myocardial infarction following a cocaine overdose in 2004.
Diego Maradona died of a heart attack on 25 November 2020, at his home in Buenos Aires. Two weeks prior to his death, he had surgery for a blood clot in his brain.
He had a portrait of Fidel Castro tattooed on his left leg and that of Che Guevara on his right arm.
He is the only player to win the Golden Ball at both the FIFA U-20 World Cup and FIFA World Cup, in 1979 and 1986, respectively.
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