Yesterday, November 25, was a very sad day in the world of football – Diego Maradona, one of the best players of all time, died of a heart attack at the age of 60.
He played a total of 581 games for the club and the national team and scored 293 goals. The Argentine magician, known around the world for his unparalleled dribbling, has gained special popularity since he won his country at the 1986 World Cup.
Hoda, who exactly was Diego Maradona? And why does he love so many people? Here are 10 facts about Diego Maradona:
He was born into a poor family in Argentina
Diego Armando Maradona was born on October 30, 1960 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He grew up in a poor family in a small suburb of Villa-Fiorito, where he lived in a single room with seven cousins.
His childhood was aggravated by hardships before football appeared in his life.
He had his professional debut at the age of 15
Maradona’s talent scout was still noticed when he was 8 years old. Already at the age of 12, he entertained the spectators with his tricks during the breaks of the first division matches.
On October 20, 1976, he made his professional debut for the Argentinos Juniors – 10 days before he turned 16. Very few players, even the most talented, have a professional debut at such an early age.
He usually played as a second striker or attacking midfielder behind the attackers. He was known for his pitch vision, amazing ball possession, assists and, most importantly, his inimitable dribbling.
So it was no surprise when he made his international debut for Argentina at the age of 16.
He is the first Barcelona player to be applauded by Real Madrid fans
During a match against Real Madrid in 1983, Maradona became the first Barcelona player to be applauded by Real Madrid fans at the stadium.
This happened after he scored this incomparable goal:
He won the 1986 World Cup in Argentina
Maradona has had many outstanding performances, although he has been given the status of a legend especially after he showed all his virtuosity at the 1986 World Cup.
At the time, 26-year-old Maradona was the captain of the Argentine national team and he played every minute of every match in the tournament, scoring 5 goals and making 5 assists. In the final, he led his country and won the World Cup for the second time after defeating Germany 3: 2.
Maradona scored the “Goal of the Century”
It was at the 1986 World Cup that Maradona scored the most goal of all time for many football fans. It happened in the match against England, which Argentina won 2: 1, and both goals were scored by Maradona.
At one point in the match, Maradona took the ball in his own half, turned it over and ran more than half of the pitch, passed five English players, then tricked the goalkeeper with a flick and threw the ball into the goal:
FIFA later named it the best goal in the history of the World Cup, and fans called it the “goal of the century”.
He even managed to score a goal once with his hand
You may not be a football fan, but you probably understand from the name of the sport that you can not use your hand while playing.
Nevertheless, Maradona managed to do it, even in one of the most important games – namely, in the same match against England, in which he scored the “goal of the century”.
Four minutes before that magic goal, the England defender accidentally returned the ball to his penalty area and sent it to the goalkeeper, while Maradona struggled with the ball and hit his head in the air, although the replay shows that, in fact, he scored with his left hand:
The English fans were very angry with this mistake of the referee, however, the rest of the world did not pay much attention to this violation, because it was Maradona. When reporters asked him about the goal, he replied: “A little with Maradona’s head, a little with God’s hand.”
This is how this goal was called “God’s hand”.
Maradona once shot journalists with a pneumatic gun
It is true that his performance on the pitch was highly appreciated by everyone, but outside the pitch Maradona was often criticized for his temperament and conflicting behavior.
After being in the spotlight of reporters for years due to notoriety, Maradona was once fed up with him and he shot journalists with a pneumatic gun on the pretext that they were digging into his personal space.
As a result, he was sentenced in 1998 to 2 years and 10 months in prison.
He had many health and addiction problems
In addition to a troubled relationship with the press, Maradona has also had a problem with cocaine addiction for 20 years. Eventually this affected his football career when he was banned from playing for 15 months after failing a cocaine test in 1992. Two years later, at the 1994 World Cup, Maradona played just two matches, and then, after failing an ephedrine doping test, he was sent home.
His predisposition to obesity, unhealthy diet, party-filled lifestyle and drug use have severely damaged his health. In 2005, the Argentine underwent gastric bypass surgery, and in 2007 he was re-hospitalized due to the effects of hepatitis and alcohol abuse.
He died of a heart attack a few weeks after successful brain surgery
In the first week of November, Maradona underwent surgery for a subdural hematoma due to a thrombus in his brain, and it was successfully completed. He was left in the hospital for a while longer because he had unpleasant symptoms related to his quitting process for alcohol, however he was eventually discharged.
Sadly, a few weeks later, Maradona suffered a heart attack at his home in Buenos Aires and died. Residents of the mourning city filled the streets of Buenos Aires as their country’s biggest star was no longer with them.
For many he will remain the best player of all time
It is true that football fans are arguing whether Pele, Cristiano Ronaldo or Argentine Leo Messi is better than Maradona, there is no doubt that Maradona is one of the best players of all time and takes his place in this discussion.
Along with Pele, Maradona was named FIFA Player of the Century in 2000. In 2017, FourFourTwo topped the list of “100 Best Players”.