Diego Maradona. Some of Maradona’s finest achievements include winning the 1986 World Cup with Argentina’s National Soccer Team.
Diego Armando Maradona was born in 1960 in the province of Villa Fiorito in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Throughout his career, he played as a midfielder in Argentinean, Spanish and Italian soccer clubs and performed in four World Cups, as well as scoring 34 goals during his 91 international appearances for the Argentinean side.
Maradona is widely regarded as one of the best soccer players in history and garnered considerable praise during the 1980s and 1990s. Some of his finest achievements include winning the 1986 World Cup with Argentina’s national team and being awarded the Fifa Player of the Century honor in 2000.
The 1986 World Cup
One of the most memorable games of Maradona’s career was during the 1986 World Cup. Argentina played against England in the quarter finals and Maradona scored both goals which led to their 2-1 victory. The first goal scored by the Argentinean midfielder was one of the most controversial in the history of soccer: beating England player Peter Shilton to the ball in the penalty area, Maradona used his left fist to force the ball over the goal line. Although the infringement was clearly witnessed by fans and players, due to the fact the referee didn’t see it, the goal was allowed. Maradona only served to enhance the storm of criticism which followed when he explained in a subsequent press conference that the goal was achieved “a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God”. Conversely, the second goal he scored in the same game, only five minutes later, is widely referred to as the greatest goal in soccer history: Maradona made an enormous run down the pitch from his own half and managed to dribble past five England players before scoring the goal which would cement Argentina’s win.
While the Argentinean Number 10 demonstrated a unique ability in the game, he also sparked controversy during his career. He was suspended from play on two occasions for drug use: in 1991 Maradona was given a 15-month suspension when he tested positive for cocaine and was removed from the World Cup squad in 1994 following a drug test which revealed ephedrine in his system. Despite his incredible skills on the soccer field, Maradona’s inability to remain on top form led to his eventual retirement from the game in 1997, aged 37; he announced his withdrawal from soccer on 29th October, the eve of his birthday.
Between 2000 and 2005, Maradona suffered heart problems which warranted hospitalization on two occasions, as well as undergoing a gastric bypass operation in order to control his weight. Having gained control over his health problems, Maradona was able to return to the soccer world in 2008 as the Argentinean coach. However, his stint was short lived due to the crippling 4-0 defeat his side suffered in the quarter finals against Germany and his contract was not renewed by the club.
From great victories to significant setbacks, Maradona’s career in soccer was both turbulent and unpredictable. Characterized by his immense skill and daring persona, Maradona remains one of the best known and most successful figures in the game.