Maradona Diego Armando
Diego Armando Maradona is an Argentine retired professional footballer. Many in the sport, including football writers, players, and fans, regard Maradona as the greatest football player of all time. He was joint FIFA Player of the 20th Century with Pelé. Maradona’s vision, passing, ball control, dribbling skills, speed, reflexes and reaction time was combined with his small size (1.65 m or 5 ft 5 in tall) giving him a low center of gravity which allowed him to be more maneuverable than most other football players; he would often dribble past multiple opposing players on a run. His presence on the pitch had a great effect on his team’s general performance, while he would often be singled out by the opposition. A precocious talent, Maradona was given the nickname “El Pibe de Oro” (“The Golden Boy”), a name that stuck with him throughout his career. A classic number 10, Maradona was renowned for his dribbling ability, vision, close ball control, passing and creativity, and is considered one of the most skillful players ever. He had a compact physique, and with his strong legs and low center of gravity he could withstand physical pressure well while running with the ball. Dutch legend Johan Cruyff saw similarities between Maradona and Lionel Messi with the ball seemingly attached to their body when dribbling. His physical strengths were illustrated by his two goals against Belgium in the 1986 World Cup. He was a strategist and a team player, as well as highly technical with the ball. He could manage himself effectively in limited spaces, and would attract defenders only to quickly dash out of the melee (as in the second 1986-goal against England), or give an assist to a free teammate. Being short, but strong, he could hold the ball long enough with a defender on his back to wait for a teammate making a run or to find a gap for a quick shot. He showed leadership qualities on the field and captained Argentina in their World Cup campaigns of 1986, 1990 and 1994.
Milan vs Napoli
Match Worn Shirt
Outside cemetery’s banner stating “You missed it”
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This Diego Armando Maradona shirt was used by Diego during Milan A.C. against Napoli S.S.C. which took place in on December 14th 1986 with a final result of 0-0. The shirt was swapped by Diego with an A.C. Milan former player which we got the shirt from.
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Maradona arrived in Naples and was presented to the world media as a Napoli player on 5 July 1984, where he was welcomed by 75,000 fans at his presentation at the Stadio San Paolo. Sports writer David Goldblatt commented, “They [the fans] were convinced that the saviour had arrived.” A local newspaper stated that despite the lack of a “mayor, houses, schools, buses, employment and sanitation, none of this matters because we have Maradona”. Prior to Maradona’s arrival, Italian football was dominated by teams from the north and centre of the country, such as Milan, Juventus, Internazionale and Roma, and no team in the south of the Italian Peninsula had ever won a league title. In 1986-1987 led by Maradona, recently crowned World Champion Diego Maradona as the most influential player, Napoli won their first ever Serie A Italian Championship in 1986–87. Goldblatt wrote, “The celebrations were tumultuous. A rolling series of impromptu street parties and festivities broke out contagiously across the city in a round-the-clock carnival which ran for over a week. The world was turned upside down. The Neapolitans held mock funerals for Juventus and Milan, burning their coffins, their death notices announcing ‘May 1987, the other Italy has been defeated. A new empire is born.’ Murals of Maradona were painted on the city’s ancient buildings, and newborn children were named in his honor. Central defender Ciro Ferrara got his breakthrough, helping out the team to win the trophy. The two new signings Andrea Carnevale and Fernando De Napoli also proved crucial in the title-winning campaign, which sparked off fanatical celebrations in Naples.
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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 “The Goal of the Century” by FIFA.com voters in 2002.
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Argentina eliminated Uruguay in the first knockout round in Puebla, setting up a match against England at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City. After scoring two contrasting goals in the 2–1 quarter-final win against England, his legend was cemented. The majesty of his second goal and the notoriety of his first led to the French newspaper L’Equipe describing Maradona as “half-angel, half-devil”. This match was played with the background of the Falklands War between Argentina and the United Kingdom. Replays showed that the first goal was scored by striking the ball with his hand. Maradona was coyly evasive, describing it as “a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God”. It became known as the “Hand of God”. Ultimately, on 22 August 2005, Maradona acknowledged on his television show that he had hit the ball with his hand purposely, and no contact with his head was made, and that he immediately knew the goal was illegitimate. This became known as an international fiasco in World Cup history. The goal stood, much to the wrath of the English players. Maradona’s second goal, just four minutes after the hotly disputed hand-goal, was later voted by FIFA as the greatest goal in the history of the World Cup. He received the ball in his own half, swivelled around and with 11 touches ran more than half the length of the field, dribbling past five English outfield players (Peter Beardsley, Steve Hodge, Peter Reid, Terry Butcher and Terry Fenwick) before he left goalkeeper Peter Shilton on his backside with a feint, and slotted the ball into the net. This goal was voted “Goal of the Century” in a 2002 online poll conducted by FIFA. Maradona followed this with two more goals in a semi-final match against Belgium at the Azteca, including another virtuoso dribbling display for the second goal. In the final match, West Germany attempted to contain him by double-marking, but he nevertheless found the space past the West German player Lothar Matthäus to give the final pass to Jorge Burruchaga for the winning goal. Argentina beat West Germany 3–2 in front of 115,000 fans at the Azteca. In a tribute to him, Azteca Stadium authorities built a statue of him scoring the “Goal of the Century” and placed it at the entrance of the stadium.
“When Diego scored that second goal against us, I felt like applauding. I’d never felt like that before, but it’s true… and not just because it was such an important game. It was impossible to score such a beautiful goal. He’s the greatest player of all time, by a long way. A genuine phenomenon” Gary Lineker
Watch the best goal ever with the original legendary commentary by Hugo Victor Morales
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On 20 October 1976, Maradona made his professional debut for Argentinos Juniors, 10 days before his 16th birthday. He entered to the pitch wearing the number 16 jersey, and after the game stated, “That day I felt I had held the sky in my hands.” Maradona scored his first goal in the Primera División against Marplatense team San Lorenzo on 14 November 1976, two weeks after turning 16. Maradona spent five years at Argentinos Juniors, from 1976 to 1981, scoring 115 goals in 167 appearances before his US$ 4 million transfer to Boca Juniors. Maradona received offers to join other clubs, including River Plate who offered to make him the club’s best paid player. Nevertheless, Maradona expressed his will to be transferred to Boca Juniors, the team he always wanted to play for.
“Even if I played for a million years, I’d never come close to Maradona. Not that I’d want to anyway. He’s the greatest there’s ever been” Leo Messi
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Diego Armando Maradona is included in our “Ballon d’Or” section even if he never won it while he was playing. But it’s important to know that to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the Ballon d’Or in 2016, France Football published a reevaluation of the awards presented before 1995, when only European players were eligible to win the award. 12 out of the 39 Ballons d’Or presented during this time period would have been awarded to South American players; Maradona in addition to Pelé, Garrincha, Mario Kempes and Romário, were retrospectively recognized as worthy winners. The original recipients, however, remain unchanged. Maradona and Pelé received honorary “Ballons d’Or for Services to Football” in 1996 and 2013, respectively.