Diego Maradona who is actually Diego Armando Maradona did for football what Michael Jackson did for Music. He took the game to the world with his world class skills and passion that he displayed in every football match that he played. He was given the name ‘EL Pibe de Oro’ means ‘The Golden Kid’
- He represented Argentina in 91 matches and scored 34 goals in these matches.
- He played a total of 4 World Cups for the country in 1982, 1986, 1990 and 1994.
- He led the team to victory as the Captain of the team in the 1986 FIFA World Cup. The match was held in Mexico between Argentina and West Germany.
- Maradona championed the skill of Nutmeg and made it popular among footballers, a skill of dribbling the ball and kicking it between the legs of the opponent.
Here is the video of Top skills of Maradona from the matches he played:
- Maradona became the youngest player to enter the Argentine Primera Division at the age of 16. Actually 10 days before his 16th birthday. And in his first match for the division he performed the Nutmeg made it popular worldwide.
- Maradona has the world record of highest transfer fee from one club to another twice.
First when he was transferred to Barcelona after the 1982 world cup from Boca Juniors for $7.8 million and second when he was transferred to Napoli for $10.84 million in 1984. These are as per the years the transfers happened.
- Maradona is known to have been targeted by the opponents for the simple reason that he was a major threat to teams playing against his team.
- Maradona has the record in his name for the most number of fouls he had to face by the opponents in a World Cup.
These are 53 fouls and it was the 1986 FIFA World Cup held in Mexico which eventually became Maradona’s World Cup Victory. He and his team Argentina defeated England in the finals.
Not only this, Maradona also holds the world record for maximum number of fouls suffered in one game. He was fouled 23 times in the 1982 by Italy.
- Football Jersey No.10 has always been the one awarded to the most important player basically the playmaker and mostly the attacking midfielder.
It is worn by players like Pele and Messi who are the greatest players of Soccer yet Maradona is credited for making it popular across the Globe.
So popular was No.10 Jersey on Maradona that the Argentine Football Association requested FIFA to retire the Jersey No.10 in honour of Maradona. The request was politely declined.
- There are very few celebrities, politicians or Sports Stars who are treated like Gods. Maradona is one of them.
In Buenos Aires, fans of Maradona started a ‘Church of Maradona’ in 1998. The year is marked by his Birthday year. So Oct 30th 2010 is considered 50 DD (DD is “depus de Diego” means ‘After Diego’. So Oct 30th 2020 would be 60 DD as he was born on Oct 30th 1960.
Since 1966, Maradona is the only player to have scored and assisted as many as 5 goals in a single World Cup.
He holds the world record for most number of appearances in the World Cup by any Argentine Player which is 21 appearances. Javier Mascherana with 20 and Lionel Messi with 19 are next to him.
Maradona has won the most free kicks in the 4 World Cups put together than any other other player in the history of World Cup. He won 152 free kicks in these 4 world cups.
Maradona has made 259 appearances for different Clubs that he played for & scored 115 Goals. His stint with Napoli is most remembered for he won the Club 2 Series A honours and got the club the respect from the Country and the World they had never achieved.
- Napoli : the Game Changer for the Club and the country Italy
‘Napoli’ which in Italy is ‘Societa Sportiva Calcio Napoli’ is the 4th biggest football club of Italy as per the fan base and was ranked as the 5th highest earning football club in Series A in Italy with $182 million in revenue in 2017-18.
This is not what the club looked like before 1984.
Napoli won the first ever Series A Italian Championship in 1987 which was led by Maradona. Before this the club was struggling to establish itself against the reigns of A.C.Milan, Iner Milan, Roma and Juventus which were mostly Clubs from North and Central Italy. No team from South Italy had ever given them competition. It was Maradona who took this South Italy club to Glory.
Not just once, Maradona took the club to victory in second series A championship in 1990 as well.
Such was the respect Maradona earned from the Club and the country that the club ‘Napoli’ officially retired Jersey No.10 from the squad in honour of Maradona when he left the club in 1992.
- ‘The Hand of God’ Controversy:
In the 1986 World Cup Quarter Final match between Argentina and England, Maradona ended up using his hand to score a Goal. This happened on 22nd June 1986. According to the current rules he could have got a Yellow Card however the referee awarded the Goal based on his view. Argentina won the game thanks to the second goal scored by Maradona again which was known as the ‘Goal of the Century’.
Maradona made a statement after the match “The goal was scored a little bit by the Hand of the God, a little by the head of Maradona.”