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.

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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.

NAPOLI S.S.C.


1986-1987


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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Match Worn & Signed Boots


Argentinos Juniors


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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 three daughters. He has two younger brothers, Hugo (el Turco) and Raúl (Lalo), both of whom were also professional football players. He was the fifth child and first son of Diego Maradona “Chitoro” (d. 2015) and Dalma Salvadora Franco ‘Doña Tota’ (1930–2011). Maradona’s parents 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. 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.


NAPOLI S.S.C.


1988-1989


Match Worn & Signed Shirt


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At Napoli, Maradona reached the peak of his professional career: he soon inherited the captain’s armband from Napoli veteran defender Giuseppe Bruscolotti and quickly became an adored star among the club’s fans; in his time there he elevated the team to the most successful era in its history. Maradona played for Napoli at a period when North-South tensions in Italy were at a peak due to a variety of issues, notably the economic differences between the two. Led by Maradona, Napoli won their first ever Serie A Italian Championship in 1986–87. Napoli would win their second league title in 1989–90, and finish runners up in the league twice, in 1987–88 and 1988–89. Other honors during the Maradona era at Napoli included the Coppa Italia in 1987, (second place in the Coppa Italia in 1989), the UEFA Cup in 1989 and the Italian Supercup in 1990. Despite primarily playing in a creative role as an attacking midfielder, Maradona was the top scorer in Serie A in 1987–88, with 15 goals, and was the all-time leading goalscorer for Napoli, with 115 goals, until his record was broken by Marek Hamšík in 2017. When asked who was the toughest player he ever faced, A.C. Milan central defender Franco Baresi stated, “Maradona; when he was on form, there was almost no way of stopping him,” a view shared by his Milan teammate Paolo Maldini, who stated, “The best ever I played against was Maradona.”

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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

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Watch the best goal ever with the original legendary commentary by Hugo Victor Morales 

ARGENTINA NATIONAL TEAM


Fifa World Cup “ITALIA 90”


Italy vs Argentina


Match Worn Shirt


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Maradona captained Argentina again in the 1990 World Cup in Italy to yet another World Cup final. An ankle injury affected his overall performance, and he was much less dominant than four years earlier. After losing their opening game to Cameroon at the San Siro in Milan, Argentina were almost eliminated in the first round, only qualifying in third position from their group. In the round of 16 match against Brazil in Turin, Claudio Caniggia scored the only goal after being set up by Maradona. In the quarter-final, Argentina faced Yugoslavia in Florence; the match ending 0–0 after 120 minutes, and Argentina advancing on penalty kicks, despite Maradona missing one in the shootout with a weak shot to the goalkeeper’s right. The semi-final against the host nation Italy at Maradona’s club stadium in Naples, the Stadio San Paolo, was also resolved on penalties after a 1–1 draw. This time, however, Maradona was successful with his effort, daringly rolling the ball into the net with an almost exact replica of his missed shot in the previous round. At the final in Rome, Argentina lost 1–0 to West Germany, the only goal being a penalty by Andreas Brehme in the 85th minute after a controversial foul on Rudi Völler.

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This shirt was issued for Diego Armando Maradona for the Fifa World Cup “Italia 90” semi-final against Italy which took place in Napoli. Played on 3 July, the showdown exceeded all expectations, as “La Squadra Azzurra” and “La Albiceleste” served up what was without doubt one of the most vibrant and unforgettable matches of the whole competition. On one side were three-time world champions Italy, a global footballing powerhouse hosting the FIFA World Cup™ for the first time in 56 years. On the other were an Argentina team looking to retain the title they won at Mexico 1986 and boasting the legendary Diego Maradona in their ranks. The Maradona factor lent a touch of controversy to the game. Staged as it was at Naples’ Stadio San Paolo, the local “tifosi” were torn between supporting the Napoli idol and their national team, adding to the spice of a match made appetizing enough by the fact there was a World Cup Final place at stake. The host nation had gone to every length to organize a spectacular tournament, one they had no hesitation in calling ‘The World Cup of the Modern Era’. Ten of the country’s stadiums had been remodeled for the event and two new ones built, while the opening ceremony showcased Italian style at its best and the official tournament song proved especially catchy. With all the World Cup’s previous winners in attendance, each fielding their star players, it promised to be quite a competition. Italy feared Argentina. Despite heading into the game in better shape than the reigning world champions, the mere presence of Maradona made them doubt their chances of success. Though hampered by injury, he remained the undisputed king of world football, while his magical touch was still very much intact. There was also little question that the diminutive genius would be inspired by playing in Naples, his home from home. El Pelusa recalled the build-up to the game in his autobiography Yo Soy el Diego: “It was no ordinary semi-final. We were up against Italy, and in Naples too! When I spoke to the press, I was happy and I said that thing they would never forgive me for. It was true, though: ‘It upsets me that everyone is now asking the people of Naples to be Italians and to get behind the national team.” Faced with the dilemma posed by their beloved Diego taking on their country, the Neapolitans hung up banners that read: “Diego in our hearts, Italy in our chants” and “Maradona: Naples loves you, but Italy is our homeland.” Hosts Italy went into the game as favourites, having won all five of their matches to that point, beating Austria, USA, Czechoslovakia, Uruguay and Republic of Ireland without even conceding a goal. The Italian squad was packed full of talent, with the incomparable Franco Baresi manning the defence along with Paolo Maldini, Walter Zenga in goal, and the young and talented Roberto Baggio linking up with Gianluca Vialli and goalscoring sensation Salvatore Totó Schillaci, who would end the tournament with the adidas Golden Boot in his possession. In contrast, Argentina had been anything but convincing in defending their title. After losing to Cameroon in their opening match, they squeezed through the group phase as one of the best third-placed sides. Outplayed for long periods by Brazil in the Round of 16, they eventually won through when Claudio Caniggia scored the only goal of the game from a delicious Maradona pass. Taking on Yugoslavia in the quarter-finals, they failed to make a one-man advantage count in an insipid 0-0 draw, only booking a place in the semi-finals after a penalty shootout. Adding to the uncertainty about their play was Maradona’s fitness. Carrying an inflamed right foot and a swollen left ankle, he could barely walk. They were the world champions nevertheless, and were determined to remain so. Gli Azzurri made a strong start to the game and quickly showed their intent. The South Americans struggled to settle, though Jorge Burruchaga did test Zenga early on with a powerful right-footed drive from outside the penalty box. With 17 minutes on the clock, however, the Italians went in front, Schillaci tucking the ball home after Sergio Goycochea had parried a Vialli shot. As the tension rose, the Argentinians started to come into the game. Buoyed by the experience of Ricardo Giusti, Julio Olarticoechea, Burruchaga, Oscar Ruggeri and Maradona, they began to dictate the play and finished the half stronger than their opponents. Argentina produced their best football of Italy 1990 after the restart, and pulled level on 67 minutes when Maradona picked out Olarticoechea on the left and the defender swung in a cross that Caniggia glanced past the advancing Zenga and into the net. After 517 minutes of play, the Italians had conceded their first goal of the tournament. Nerves then took a hold of both sides as the chances dried up and the friction levels increased. Extra-time was an inevitability, and when it arrived Baggio almost put Italy back in front with an arcing free-kick that Goycochea did well to claw over the bar. Argentina were reduced to ten men when referee Michel Vautrot gave Giusti his marching orders. As he later admitted, the French official became so caught up in events that he let the clock run on and only called the first period to an end after 23 minutes. A man down, La Albiceleste retreated into their defensive shell, and with the Italians unable to break through, the game went to penalties. Baresi, Jose Serrizuela, Baggio, Burruchaga, Luigi De Agostini and Olarticoechea all converted from the spot to leave the shootout tied at 3-3, at which point Goycochea flung himself to his left to deny Roberto Donadoni and Maradona coolly slotted home to put his side ahead. The Argentinian keeper then guessed correctly again to keep out Aldo Serena’s spot-kick and send Carlos Bilardo’s men through to their second consecutive Final.

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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.


Match Worn Boots


Argentinos Juniors 


“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


Match Worn Boots


Napoli S.S.C.


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Maradona was famous for his cunning personality. Inherent within his nickname “El Pibe de Oro” (“Golden Boy”) is a sense of mischief, with “pibe” being an anti-establishment rogue, street smart and full of guile. Some critics view his controversial “Hand of God” goal at the 1986 World Cup as a clever maneuver, with one of the opposition players, Glenn Hoddle, admitting that Maradona had disguised it by flicking his head at the same time as palming the ball. The goal itself has been viewed as an embodiment of the Buenos Aires shanty town Maradona was brought up in and its concept of viveza criolla — “native cunning”.[103] While critical of the illegitimate first goal, England striker Gary Lineker conceded, “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.” Maradona used his hand in the 1990 World Cup, again without punishment, and this time on his own goal line, to prevent the Soviet Union from scoring. A number of publications have referred to Maradona as the Artful Dodger, the urchin pickpocket from Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist. Maradona was dominantly left-footed, often using his left foot even when the ball was positioned more suitably for a right-footed connection. His first goal against Belgium in the 1986 World Cup semi-final is a worthy indicator of such; he had run into the inside right channel to receive a pass but let the ball travel across to his left foot, requiring more technical ability. During his run past several England players in the previous round for the “Goal of the Century” he did not use his right foot once, despite spending the whole movement on the right-hand side of the pitch. In the 1990 World Cup second round tie against Brazil, he did use his right foot to set up the winning goal for Claudio Caniggia due to two Brazilian markers forcing him into a position that made use of his left foot less practical.

“At the time that Maradona retired from active football, left traumatized Argentina. Maradona was more than just a great footballer. It was a special compensation factor for a country that in a few years lived several military dictatorships and social frustrations of all kinds. Maradona offered to the Argentines a way out of their collective frustration, and that’s why people love him. There is a divine figure” Jorge Valdano

The three icons of Argentina statues in Buenos Aires: tango pioneer Carlos Gardel, political leader Eva Perón, and Diego Armando Maradona