Diego Armando Maradona, nicknamed The Prince of Football, is one of the greatest footballers of all time, the World Cup winner and a national hero in his home country Argentina. This great but flawed legend died on 25th November 2020 at the age of 60 from heart failure.
Diego Maradona’s life was full of glory, success as well as scandals. This hero or, in some cases, the bad boy of football was born on 30th October 1960 to underprivileged parents. However, nothing could keep him from being the greatest. The little boy’s football skills were like a new definition of the game itself. So, it didn’t take too long to catch the eye of the football scouts.
Diego was 10 when he was signed by Argentinos Juniors, a famous club in Buenos Aires. Consequently, even before he turned 16, the door to the club’s senior team opened in front of him. In Diego’s first season for the senior team, the club became the champion in the local league.
Diego was blossoming in the field with God-given skill and earned the nickname ‘Fiorito,’ meaning ‘beautiful as a flower.’ Maradona, one of the best stars in world football, has played for various clubs at different times, on top of Barcelona, Napoli, and Sevilla. This golden boy of football represented Argentina in 91 International Fixtures. Maradona has played in the FIFA World Cup four times in an Argentine jersey and was the captain of Argentina’s 1986 World Cup victory. In the quarter-finals of the 1986 World Cup, his infamous first goal against England was a controversial one, which he scored with his hand. For that, the football world called Maradona the ‘Hand of God’. The second goal he scored in that match was even more dazzling, which is mentioned as the ‘Goal of the Century.’ The reason is that this attacking midfielder dribbled the ball from 5 players of England and sent it straight to the net. After winning the World cup of 1986, the fall of the angel began.
He was God-like near the city of Naples, having won trophies for Napoli after winning the World Cup in Italy. But the chaotic life had already started consuming him for some time now.
Is Maradona taking drugs? Everyone started wondering. His form was also saying the same thing. There was controversy in his personal life as well. He was married to Claudia Villafane. But he was also sued by Cristina Sinagra, claiming Maradona to be her child’s father. In the meantime, Argentina has also reached the final of the 1990 World Cup. The opponent is West Germany. But Maradona’s team had to return from Italy as runners-up. Maradona was not seen near the familiar form in the entire tournament.
In Italy, where he became the best player in the world, this time he was disgraced and condemned. He tested positive for a dope test, punished for 15 months in exile from Italian football. As a consequence, Maradona left Italy and came back home. But he got arrested back in the country for taking cocaine and stopped playing football for the next two years. In 1992, Maradona rejoined Sevilla in Spain. But nothing could change his fate. He never got back to his prime time. Maradona played in the 1994 World Cup in the United States. But by then, he was just a shadow of the past. In the first match of the tournament, Argentina won 4-0 against Greece, and even Maradona scored a goal. But he was sent back from the World Cup for taking the banned drug ephedrine, which was his last match in the country’s jersey. Argentina also returned after being excluded from the group stage.
Consequently, FIFA sent Maradona into exile again for 15 months. His international career ended with 34 goals in 91 matches. Maradona retired from football at the age of 37 in 1997 from Boca Juniors. In the record book, 345 goals in 678 games were written next to his name.
Diego Maradona coached the Argentine national team from 2008 to 2010, just as he had done in his football career. However, such a football legend had to face many battles in his personal life. At one point, he became extremely addicted to drugs. And from there, Maradona also suffered from obesity.
The Prince of Football has been undergoing treatment for alcoholism since 2006, and the last battle was fought on 25th November 2020, when he took his last breath. He is buried in his hometown at the Bella Vista cemetery next to the graves of his parents.
Diego Maradona is a chapter in football history. Without him, the history of football is incomplete. He defines the attacking side of football newly predominantly termed as the second striker. In the end, whether a hero or the bad boy of football, Maradona is a legend who is dazzling but infamous; genius but outrageous; a football icon but a flawed one.