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Diego Maradona
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Diego Maradona

Diego Armando Maradona (b.October 30, 1960) is a former Argentine football player. He is generally regarded as one of the greatest players of all time though his personal reputation is marred by his drug usage and various other scandals.

He was born in Villa Fiorito, Buenos Aires, Argentina to a family of Italian and Indigenous South American origin. Maradona first played in the Argentinian Championship, for Argentinos Juniors (1976-81) and then for Boca Juniors (1981-82). He then went to Spain, where, playing for FC Barcelona, he won a Copa del Rey. On [5 july] 1984 he went to Naples, Italy to join Napoli, where he won two Italian Championships (1986/87 and 1989/1990), a Coppa Italia (1987), a UEFA Cup (1989) and an Italian Supercup (1990), plus Napoli were runners-up in the Italian Championship twice.

He led the Argentinian national team to victory in the World Cup in 1986, the team winning 3-2 in the final against West Germany. In this tournament, he became notorious for a goal in the quarter-final game against England, which video evidence later clearly revealed what everyone but the referee had seen — he had scored with the aid of his hand. He later claimed it was the "Hand of God" which had caused him to score the goal, to the general derision of the English public and in particular the tabloid newspapers, who still resurrect the incident occasionally even today, branding him a cheat. However, Maradona showed the other side of his nature just a couple of minutes later in the same match, by running half the length of the pitch and beating almost the entire English team along the way, to score what is widely regarded as the most exceptional goal in the history of the World Cup.

Maradona also captained Argentina in the 1990 World Cup, leading a far weaker team to the final again, where they lost 1-0 to West Germany. In the 1994 World Cup he was sent home in disgrace after failing a drugs test for ephedrine doping.

In Naples, where he is still beloved (having brought the local team their first scudetto), he also faced a scandal regarding an illegitimate son and was the object of some suspicion over his friendship with the Camorra, the local mafia.

Maradona left Napoli in 1992, after serving a 15 month ban for failing a drug test, and played for Sevilla FC (1992-93), Newell's Old Boys (1993) and Boca Juniors (1995-97), without much success. He also attempted to work as a coach on two short, very unsuccessful occasions, leading Mandiyú of Corrientes (1994) (played 12, won 1) and Racing Club (1995) (played 11, won 2). He retired from football on October 30, 1997.

Maradona spent much of the 1990s battling a cocaine addiction, which included a well-publicized spell in a detox clinic in Cuba. He apparently surmounted the problem for the time being, and then embarked upon a new career as a talk-show host, with which he had great success.

In 2000, Maradona was voted FIFA's Player of the Century by Internet users in a millennium poll, garnering 53.60% of the votes. In a reconciliatory gesture, FIFA appointed a footballing committee which voted in Pelé alongside the Argentine.

In 2002, the Argentinian Football Association asked FIFA for authorization to retire shirt number 10, the number Maradona used, as an homage. At first, FIFA authorized it only to reverse their decision soon after. While retiring a shirt number used by a great athlete is common practice in American sports, there were no cases of this happening in Football.

Maradona's brother is also a soccer player and his alleged illegitimate child is now trying to start a career in football, but he does not appear to have inherited his father's skills.

On April 18, 2004, doctors reported that Maradona had suffered a major heart attack following a cocaine overdose and was in intensive care in a Buenos Aires hospital. Dozens of fans gathered around the clinic indicating his popularity even in 2004. Days after the heart attack, a male nurse was caught taking photos of Maradona in his grave condition, with a cellular telephone. The nurse had received an offer of six thousand US dollars by a tabloid newspaper to take the photos. He was, however, promptly fired by hospital directors. Maradona was hospitalized in a floor that was closed so he could be attended to exclusively.

After he showed improvement, he was taken off a respirator on April 23, and remained in intensive care for several days before being discharged on April 29. However, he returned to the hospital on May 5. Since then, he has entered a psychiatric facility for substance abuse treatment.

He is also known in Argentina as "El Pibe d'Oro" (The Golden Boy).

Table of contents
1 Career Statistics
2 See also
3 External link

Career Statistics

Clubs

International Club honours International honours Coaching career Individual honours

See also

External link