Diego Armando Maradona - The Football GeniusDiego Maradona was born in 1960 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is regarded as the top footballer of the '80s and one of the greatest of all time. The icon is known for his football wizardry, the ability to control the ball with commendable ease, and creating scoring chances for himself and others from nothing.
He led teams to championships in his home country, Spain, and Italy. Armando was part of the Argentine team that lifted the 1986 FIFA World Cup finals played in Mexico.
Early LifeMaradona joined the youth team of Argentinos Juniors called Las Cebollitas (or The Little Onions) while aged eight. His childhood team won 136 consecutive games on its way to the national championship. At 14, he was moved up to the Argentinos Juniors team, debuting in the first division in 1976.
Diego received the national call-up when he was 16 years and three months, becoming the youngest Argentine. However, the selection team kept him from the 1978 World Cup squad because Maradona was still too young. The sidelining did not last long because Maradona led Argentina's under-20 team to a Junior World Cup title a year later.
Mainstream Club DaysDiego joined Boca Juniors in 1981 and helped them win the league title. However, his stay at Boca was short-lived. He joined Barcelona a season later and, in 1983, won the Spanish Cup.
Maradona did not stay for long in Northeastern Spain either. He joined SSC Napoli in 1984 and stayed with the Naples side for seven seasons. Diego enjoyed immense success with Napoli, helping the traditionally weak team to the helm of Italian football.
While Maradona was with Napoli, the team won Serie A in 1987 and again in 1990.
The Suspension and a ContinuanceIn 1991, Maradona's spell in Napoli came to an abrupt end after being arrested in Argentina for possessing cocaine. He was suspended from playing football for 15 months.
Armando started playing again in the 1992-93 season. He joined Sevilla, where he made 29 appearances, scoring five goals. The following season, he joined Newell's Old Boys in Argentina, where he made five appearances.
In 1995, he rejoined Boca Juniors, spending another three seasons in his boyhood club, making 30 appearances and scoring seven times.
In all, he appeared for his clubs 490 times, scoring 249 goals.
International AssignmentsMaradona had a long, illustrious, yet eventful international career that stretched between 1977 and 1994. Over these years, he made 15 appearances on youth level and 91 matches for the regular national team, scoring 42 times in total.
His appearances for Argentina included participation in the World Cup finals in 1982, 1986, 1990, and 1994. The 1986 event was the highlight of his international career. In the quarterfinal game against England, he scored two of the most unforgettable goals in the tournament's history.
The Hand of God goal was scored with his hand, but the referee wrongly thought he headed the ball into the net. The second Argentine goal was a solo effort, dribbling past half of the English squad, including the keeper before slotting the ball home.
CoachingMaradona had an on-and-off coaching stint. In 2008, he was appointed to manage the Argentinian national team. He led them to the quarterfinals of the 2010 World Cup where Germany knocked them out. In 2011 he took a coaching job at Al Wasl of the UAE but was soon fired.
Final wordsIn 1999, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association named him alongside Pelé as the century's greatest footballers.
Maradona passed away on November 25, 2020 at the age of 60.