Born30 October 1960
Diego Maradona is an Argentinean soccer legend who is widely regarded as one of the best players of all time. Maradona led club teams to championships in Argentina, Italy and Spain, and famously starred for the Argentinean team that won the 1986 World Cup. However, the soccer legend's career was marred by a pair of high-profile suspensions for drug use, and he has often battled health problems in retirement.
Childhood and Early Life
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 and Raúl both of whom were also professional football players. He was the fifth child and first son of Diego Maradona "Chitoro" and Dalma Salvadora Franco 'Doña Tota' . 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 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.
A short but fearless midfielder renowned for his ability to create scoring chances for himself and others, Maradona led club teams to championships in Argentina, Italy and Spain.
The pinnacle of his career came as a member of the Argentinean national team that won the 1986 World Cup. His performance there included two memorable goals in a quarter-final victory over England. The first was scored illegally with his left hand, which Maradona later claimed was the work of "the hand of God" and the second required no supernatural help other than an otherworldly ability to dribble past an onslaught of defenders to find the back of the net. Altogether, Maradona played in four World Cups, and scored an impressive 34 goals in 91 international appearances for Argentina.
Despite his unquestioned brilliance on the pitch, the emotional Maradona became equally well known as a highly controversial figure. He became addicted to cocaine while playing in Spain in the 1980s and received a 15-month suspension after testing positive for the substance in 1991. Maradona endured another high-profile suspension three years later, this time for testing positive for ephedrine during the World Cup.
Maradona spent the twilight of his playing career in his home country, his physical skills diminished by mounting injuries and years of hard living. He announced his retirement on the eve of his birthday in 1997.
Awards & Achievements
He won the Golden Ball award at the 1986 FIFA World Cup.
In 1999, he was bestowed with the Diamond Konex Award, which was one of the most prestigious culture awards in Argentina from Konex Foundation, Argentina, for being the ultimate sportstar of the decade.
He was adjudged ‘FIFA Player of the Century’ award in 2000, along with Pele. He acquired the majority of the votes at 53.6% against Pele's 18.53%. However, the latter was voted by the ‘Football Family’ committee.
His second goal against England in the quarter final match during the 1986 World Cup was voted as the ‘Best Goal Ever Scored in World Cup’ in 2002 FIFA poll. Following year, the Argentinos Juniors named its stadium after him.
In 2010, the Times chose him as the Greatest 10 World Cup Players of all times.
He is a Roman Catholic and was married to his longtime girlfriend Claudia Villafane, in Buenos Aires, on 7 November 1984.The couple had two daughters together, Dalma Nerea (born on 1987) and Gianinna Dinorah (born on 1989). The pair, however, divorced in 2004. Likewise, he is also claimed to have had a son, Diego Sinagra (born on 1986), with an Italian woman named Cristina Sinagra.
Talking about in the present, there are reports that he is dating his girlfriend Rocio Oliva.
He has also been noted for cocaine addiction throughout his career, and post his retirement as well. His addiction started in 1983.
It was later reported that he refrained from drinking and drug addiction in 2007 and has been sober ever since.
Facts about Diego Maradona
1.He Snorted Cocaine On The Pitch
This incident happened immediately after Diego converted the winning penalty in a global All-Star game in Pasadena a month after the 1986 World Cup had finished.While celebrating, a man ran up to Maradona and the forward sniffed something off his hand. This is believed to be cocaine.
2.He Hosted His Own Chat Show>
In 2005, Maradona was handed his own Argentine television show named, La Noche del 10 (The Night of the no. 10).
Surprisingly, his main guest on the opening night was Pelé. The two had been at loggerheads for years but showed no signs of this on the show. They even enjoyed a game of head tennis.
3. He Refused To Go To The 2006 World Cup Opening Ceremony
He said: “I’m not here to look at bloody Pele walking around.”
The pair's' animosity stems from the argument of who actually is the best player in the history of football and numerous awards that went to the other man.
4.He Almost Had The Argentina Number 10 Shirt Retired
His performaces led to The Argentinian FA putting in a request to FIFA to retire the number 10 shirt in his honour. This was rejected, and it's probably safe to say that Lionel Messi was happy with that outcome.
5.He Did Not Take Criticism Well
After receiving a lot of criticism from the Argentinian public during the qualifying stages of the 2010 Word Cup, Maradona made sure he got his own back when the team secured their place in South Africa.
He told the Argentina boo boys to “suck it” and “keep on sucking it”. Ever the gentleman though, he did add: “I’m sorry ladies for my words.”
6. He has A Tattoo Of Che Guevara
Maradona has stated that all of his tattoos mean the world to him, and of Guevara he said: "I carry him on my arm and in my heart. I learned his story, I learned to love him. I think I know the truth about him."
7.He Owes The Italian Government A Lot Of Money
In March 2009 Italian officials announced that Maradona still owed the Italian government €37 million in taxes; €23.5 million of which was accrued interest on his original debt.
Diego has paid only €42,000, two luxury watches and a set of earrings to date.
8. He Doesn't Know How Many Children He Has
In an interview he famously - and rather smugly, it has to be said - said: "My legitimate kids are Dalma and Giannina. The rest are a product of my money and mistakes.”
9. He Has A Church Named After Him
The “Church of Maradona” was founded in Buenos Aires in 1998, presumably designed to annoy English fans still smarting from the Hand Of God controversy.
10. He Was Good Friends With Fidel Castro
Maradona tells of how the Cuban leader used to call him in the middle of the night to chat about all manner of issues: “We would talk about politics and he taught me a lot of things.”
As if to prove his adoration, Maradona also has a tattoo of Castro on his left leg.
Diego Maradona Quotes
1.“When people succeed, it is because of hard work. Luck has nothing to do with success. ”
2.“My mother thinks I am the best. And I was raised to always believe what my mother tells me. ”
3.“Messi scores a goal and celebrates. Cristiano scores a goal and poses like he's in a shampoo commercial. ”
4.“The goal was scored a little bit by the hand of God, another bit by the head of Maradona. ”
5.“When you win, you don't get carried away. But if you go step by step, with confidence, you can go far. ”
6.“To see the ball, to run after it, makes me the happiest man in the world”
7.“Even if there was a hand, it was the hand of God. ”
8.“I am Maradona, who makes goals, who makes mistakes. I can take it all, I have shoulders big enough to fight with everybody. ”
9.“I was, I am and I always will be a drug addict. A person who gets involved in drugs has to fight it everyday. ”
10“The Lord helps those who help themselves. ”
11.“I am black or white, I'll never be grey in my life. ”
12.“I was waiting for my teammates to embrace me and no one came, ... I told them, 'Come hug me or the referee isn't going to allow it.'”
13.“I've seen the player who will inherit my place in Argentinian football and his name is Messi... He's a leader and is offering classes in beautiful football. ”
14.“Everybody in Argentina can remember the hand of God in the England match in the 1986 World Cup. Now, in my country, the hand of God has brought us an Argentinian pope. ”
15.“What I love most about Norway is you ladies. Back home I'm used to fat and hairy women journalists. ”
16.“Money is not a motivating factor. I do what comes to me at that moment. ”
17.“My legitimate kids are Dalma and Giannina. The rest are a product of my money and mistakes.
18.“I'm alive and I want to keep living. ”
19.“Pele should go back to the museum. ”
20.“When I wear the national team shirt, its sole contact with my skin makes it stand on an end.”
21.“I hate everything that comes from the United States. I hate it with all my strength.”
22.“People who say that only young people voted on the Internet, those who didn't see Pele play, forget that children are not orphans. There's always a father who buys the computer and perhaps influences their vote. I won the people's vote.
23.“All the people that criticised me should eat their words. ”