Thursday, January 21, 2021
Life And Times Of Diego Maradona ( 30th October 1960 – November 25, 2020)

Story By Joshua Adetunji

Diego Armando Maradona was an Argentine professional footballer and football manager. He was widely regarded as one of the greatest football players of all time, and by many as the greatest ever. He was one of the two joint winners of the FIFA Player of the 20th Century award.

Diego Armando Maradona, was born on 30 October 1960, at the Policlínico (Polyclinic) Evita Hospital in Lanús, Buenos Aires Province, but raised in Villa Fiorito, a shantytown on the southern outskirts of Buenos Aires, Argentina, to a poor family that had moved from Corrientes Province.

He was the first son after four daughters. He had two younger brothers, Hugo ( el Turco ) and Raúl (Lalo), both of whom were also professional football players.

His parents were Diego Maradona “Chitoro” (d. 2015) and Dalma Salvadora Franco ‘Doña Tota’ (1930–2011). They were both born and brought up in the town of Esquina in the north-east province of Corrientes Province, living only two hundred metres from each other on the banks of the Corriente River. In 1950, they left Esquina and settled in Buenos Aires.

At age eight, Maradona was spotted by a talent scout while he was playing in his neighbourhood club Estrella Roja. He became a staple of Los Cebollitas (The Little Onions), the junior team of Buenos Aires’s Argentinos Juniors .

As a 12-year-old ball boy, he amused spectators by showing his wizardry with the ball during the halftime intermissions of first division games. He named Brazilian playmaker
Rivelino and Manchester United winger George Best among his inspirations growing up.

Maradona’s vision, passing, ball control and dribbling skills were combined with his small stature (1.65 m or 5 ft 5 in), which gave him a low centre of gravity allowing him to manoeuvre better than most other football players; he would often dribble past multiple opposing players on a run.

His presence and leadership on the field had a great effect on his team’s general performance, while he would often be singled out by the opposition. In addition to his creative abilities, he also possessed an eye for goal and was known to be a free-kick specialist.

A precocious talent, Maradona was given the nickname ” El Pibe de Oro ” (“The Golden Boy”), a name that stuck with him throughout his career.

An advanced playmaker who operated in the
classic number 10 position , Maradona was the first player in football history to set the world record transfer fee twice, first when he transferred to Barcelona for a then-world record £5 million, and second, when he transferred to
Napoli for another record fee £6.9 million.

He played for Argentinos Juniors, Boca Juniors , Barcelona, Napoli, Sevilla and Newell’s Old Boys during his club career, and is most famous for his time at Napoli and Barcelona where he won numerous accolades.

In his international career with Argentina, he earned 91 caps and scored 34 goals. Maradona played in four FIFA World Cups, including the
1986 World Cup in Mexico where he captained Argentina and led them to victory over West Germany in the final, and won the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player.

In the 1986 World Cup quarter final , he scored both goals in a 2–1 victory over England that entered football history for two different reasons. The first goal was an unpenalized handling foul known as the ” Hand of God “, while the second goal followed a 60 m (66 yd) dribble past five England players, voted ” Goal of the Century ” by FIFA.com voters in 2002.

Maradona became the coach of Argentina’s national football team in November 2008. He was in charge of the team at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa before leaving at the end of the tournament. He then coached Dubai -based club Al Wasl in the UAE Pro-League for the 2011–12 season. In 2017, Maradona became the coach of Fujairah before leaving at the end of the season. In May 2018, Maradona was announced as the new chairman of Belarusian club Dynamo Brest .

He arrived in Brest and was presented by the club to start his duties in July. From September 2018 to June 2019, Maradona was coach of Mexican club
Dorados .

He was the coach of Argentine Primera División club Gimnasia de La Plata from 2019 until his death.

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