|FULL NAME||Diego Armando Maradona|
|BORN||October 30, 1960|
|HEIGHT||1.65 m (5 ft 5 in)|
|ROLE :||Attacking midfielder / Second striker|
Diego Armando Maradona Franco is a former Argentine professional footballer who was born in the Argentine city of Lanus on October 30, 1960.
Maradona is widely considered as one of the best players of all time, and he was named FIFA’s Best Player of the 20th Century.
He has redefined the offensive midfielder position and is commonly referred to as the second striker.
Maradona was raised in the city of Villa Fiorito on the outskirts of Buenos Aires and was born to impoverished parents. When Maradona was eight years old, he caught the attention of a talent scout while playing in the local club Estrella Roja.
Soon after, his innate skill set propelled him to the helm of Los Cebollitas (The Little Onions), the youth squad of Buenos Aires’ Argentinos Juniors.
Maradona made his professional debut with Argentinos Juniors in 1976, and after the game he said, “That day I felt I had touched the sky in my hands.” He spent five years with Argentinos Juniors, scoring 115 goals in 167 games. In 1982, Maradona was sold to Barcelona in Spain for a then-world record cost of £5 million, and the team quickly rose to prominence.
Argentina played Hungary in 1976, and he made his international debut. Maradona was left out of the 1978 World Cup team, which was hosted in Argentina, because coach César Luis Menotti thought he was still too inexperienced to participate in the World Cup.
Argentina won the 1979 FIFA World Youth Championship in Japan, and Maradona was the tournament’s highlight. His first senior international goal came in a 3–1 triumph against Scotland at Hampden Park in 1979.
Ascend to greatness
Maradona was the youngest member of the national squad. He was named South American Player of the Year in 1979 and captained Argentina in the Junior World Cup. Maradona made headlines in 1982 when, at the age of 21, he was sold to Barcelona for $7.7 million.
Argentina won the 1986 World Cup because to Maradona’s outstanding play, and he was voted “athlete of the decade” by the British. But he wasn’t without controversy, as he used his arm to score a crucial goal against England. Following the game, Maradona famously stated that if the ball struck any hand, it was God’s hand.
In the same year, he was awarded the FIFA World Cup Golden Ball and the Silver Shoe.
In his career, he led Napoli to two Serie A titles.
The low points
Maradona had a difficult time at Barcelona since he was hooked to cocaine. As a result, Barcelona’s directors had disagreements, and Maradona was transferred to Napoli for another record sum of £6.9 million.
In 1991, Maradona was barred from playing football for 15 months after testing positive for cocaine.
Maradona captained Argentina’s national team 16 times and guided his country to the World Cup championship in 1986.
In his whole career, the Argentine ace footballer has scored 312 goals. In 21 World Cup appearances, he has eight goals and eight assists. Maradona was Argentina’s second-highest goal-scorer in World Cup finals.
He was named FIFA Player of the Century after retiring from sport. He participates in a few charity matches to generate funds for trusts and organisations.