A career filled with goals, glamour, honour, respect and a legacy that can never be matched. The world is in mourning as the footballing legend breathed his last yesterday. I am in immense shock and pain while writing this and still can not believe that he has left us but all good things must come to an end I will try to summarize his entire career because even a million pages are less to tell people about his greatness.
Diego Armando Maradona was born on 30th of October in Lanus(a suburb of Buenos Aires, Argentina). Like every Argentine boy his life always revolved around football, he was discovered and signed by a scout of the the first division club Argentinos Juniors while playing on the streets of Buenos Aires. He then played with the club’s youth team know as “Cebollitas“. Little Diego put up some breath taking performances here which earned him the name “El Pibe De Oro“(The golden boy).
In 1976 Diego made his senior team debut for Argentinos Juniors at the age of 15. In Argentina’s Primera Division he quickly became one of the best playmakers and also in the whole of South America, only comparable to the well established legend Zico himself. During his time with Argentinos Juniors he was the leagues’s top scorer 3 times and South American player of the year 2 times. ALL BEFORE TURNING 20
In 1981 Maradona made a move to BOCA JUNIORS his Dad’s and his favourite club. Eventhough he spent only a year at BOCA but this was the place where he turned into the best players in the world. He won the Primera division for the first time and the iconic La Bombonera became his castle. It was especially in the Super Classico against River Plate(Boca’s major rivals) where he won the heart of the fans.
After the World Cup 1982 Diego Joined Barcelona for a then world record fee of 8 Million euros. In 2 years, Maradona won a Copa Del Ray, a League Cup and a Super Copa. Despite some injuries, he amazed the Spanish football fans, also the first FC Barcelona’s player to get a standing ovation from the Los Blancos fans in El Classico but sadly he also stud on drugs, parties and fights so Barca put him on the transfer list in 1984.
Napoli picked him with another world record fee of 12 million Euros. That’s when his prime began. Napoli at that time was a relegation threatened club and could not compete with the rich clubs from the North of Italy but Diego bought 2 Scudetti, 1 Copa Italia and one UEFA cup. This was enough for a pretty non existent club outside Italy to be a household club throughout Europe and Latin America. This was the reason why the people of Napoli still worship him and consider him as their god.
Maradona’s greatest and perhaps the only thing that makes him better than Lionel Messi is his greatest achievement the FIFA World Cup 1986. His 1986 World Cup performance in opinion of many experts the greatest individual performance in the history of the competition. He almost single handedly won Argentina’s second World Cup with 5 goals and 5 assists. He also scored the infamous “Hand of God” goal in the quarter finals vs England.
Diego had a ban due to drug abuse in 1994. He returned to football and the Primera division when he signed for Boca Juniors when his ban ended in 1995. He played for the league title this time until another scandal which forced him into his retirement. He famously quoted ” I made many mistakes and I paid for them. But the ball is still pure”.
Diego Maradona also came to India in 2008 and 2016.
Diego Maradona had first visited India in 2008. He decided on Kolkata. He was in the city for two days to inaugurate a private football academy. It was, however, an exhibition match at Salt Lake Stadium that wowed the country. The reception that Maradona received was beyond imaginable. Hundreds and thousands of men, women and children gathered to celebrate the visit of a man who had played his last match in 1997.
In the words of a journalist who wrote about his visit back in 2008 for the website Goal, “There was emotion when at the start of the match Maradona ran onto the pitch and did his famous juggling. There was emotion when during half-time some ball-boys rushed to Maradona to touch him. Even the players who were participating in the exhibition match couldn’t resist feeling the emotions and feeling proud at being able to hug the Great Diego.”
It seemed like the footballer himself was in awe of his reception in India, and around the third time he even said, “I have always been very well received in India.”
The pictures of Maradona’s visit today look heartwarming and full of love.
The following pictures are from Naples and Buenos Aires where Diego Maradona was loved the most.
No words can describe how people feel.
Diego came from heaven but now he has to go back to his real home.
You’ll be missed.
Rest in piece 🥀.