Opinions

Diego Maradona – A Football Legend

The football world was shocked a few days ago as the death of Diego Maradona was announced. He died due to a heart attack following a number of years with persistent health issues, having been admitted to hospital just a few days before his heart attack.

The Argentine footballer is regarded as the best of the 1980s and one of the greatest to ever grace the football world. His key traits as a footballer revolved around his remarkable ability to control the ball, together with creating sublime scoring opportunities for both his teammates and himself.

He achieved domestic success with his respective club teams in Argentina, Italy, and Spain whilst also being a key protagonist for the Argentine team in their win of the 1986 World Cup.

Maradona’s football talent was evident from a very young age. At the age of just eight, he joined Las Cebollitas, a boys’ team that managed to win a hundred and thirty-six consecutive games, together with a national championship. He was the youngest Argentine to make his debut with the national team, just four months after turning sixteen. Being deemed too young at the time, he was left out from the Argentine squad for the 1978 World Cup. The following year, he was a protagonist, where the national under-twenty team clinched the Junior World Cup championship.

In 1981, Maradona played with Boca Juniors and immediately became a key player, winning the championship. He also made a significant mark on European football, having won the Spanish Cup in 1983 with Barcelona and achieving significant success with Napoli, a team which was in the past classified as weak. He won two league titles with Napoli in 1987 and 1990. In 1987, he also won the domestic cup in Italy. His stint in Italy would come to an end, following cocaine possession and arrest in Argentina. He was banned from playing football for fifteen months. His future stints included playing for Sevilla and Newell’s Old Boys. His last match was played on the 25th October in 1997, with Boca Juniors.

One of the landmark performances which will remain synonymous with Diego Maradona was the game against England in the quarterfinal of the 1986 World Cup. Argentina went on to win the game with Diego Maradona scoring the first goal with his hand, with the referee believing he did so with his head. This goal is till today renowned as the “Hand of God” goal. His second goal was marvellous as he gained possession, dribbled past a flock of English defenders and goalkeeper before slotting home.

His presence in the 1994 World Cup was marred with controversy as he tested positive for the drug ephedrine and was suspended once more.

One of the leaders in world football, he became a hero for those of a lower class in Argentina and the southern area of Italy. His immense contributions to the beautiful game will never be forgotten.

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