Diego Maradona: ‘The Soccer Guru’

With the FIFA fever spreading everywhere these days, the game of football is incomplete without mentioning the name of that individual who eternalized the game. He is no other but the legend Diego Maradona, popularly called Maradona.  Maradona is an Argentine former football player and currently coaches the Argentine national team. He is seen as: the revolutionary footballer, God, family man and a true legend. He is widely regarded as one of the best footballer of all times. Maradona’s spell bounding strikes were unlike others. He is considered as the Argentinean maverick that came from another planet.

He was born on 30th October 1960, in Lanus, Argentina.  He was first noticed for his
inborn talent when he was only 10 years old. He soon became a part of the ‘Argentinos Juniors’ football players.  He made his international professional debut with ‘Argentinos Juniors’ at the age of 16, against Hungary. At the age of 18, he played the World Youth Championship for Argentina. He became the star of the championship with the final win over Soviet Union. His playing position was either attacking midfielder or second striker.

Maradona played for Argentinos Juniors, Boca Juniors, Barcelona, Napoli, Sevilla and Newell’s Old Boys, setting a world record for highest contract fees. When he played for Napoli, he reached the peak of his professional career. Napoli won their own only Serie A Italian Championships in 1986/87 and 1989/1990. Other honours during the Maradona Era at Napoli included the Coppa Italia in 1987, the UEFA Cup in 1989 and Italian Supercup in 1990. He was the top scorer in Serie A in 1987/88. He played his first World Cup tournament in 1982. Led by Maradona, the Argentine national team won the 1986 FIFA World Cup, in Mexico against West Germany. In the quarter final round he scored two goals, against England. The first goal was named “The Hand of God” goal and the second “The Goal of the Century”.  He was awarded the Golden Ball award for the best player of the tournament.

An overview of Maradona’s career statistics:

* His overall average of goals scored per match in domestic club competitions is 0.526.
* He created World-Cup record 16 times as a captain of the Argentina national team.
* He scored 8 goals and made 8 assists in 21 World-Cup appearances, including 5 goals and 5 assists in 1986.
* He even tied for second-highest goal-soccer from Argentina in the World Cup finals.
* In his international career, playing for Argentina, he earned 91 caps and 34 goals.

Maradona has a reputation of being the people’s champion, an athlete who rose from a humble beginning to capture fame. However, he did face adversity in his life when he developed an intense relationship with drugs.  He became a drug-addict when he was playing for Napoli. This regular addiction cranked-up his personality and also interfered with his football career. This habit of drug abuse led to numerous surgeries and almost ruined his football career. After all the odds in his life, he decided to go to a rehabilitation centre in Cuba. In 2007, he appeared on Argentina television and stated that he without drugs for over two years. Thus, with strong will and his ability to embark on the ruthless path he was able to overcome the uncertainties and shine like a legend.

What really fascinates me about him is his style with which he plays his game. What inspires me about him is that he turned his life into a show which should be considered as an example for everyone. His strong determination to overcome all challenging situation in his life impressed me and his fans all over the world. We  must therefore remember Maradona for what he showcased on the football fields all over the world and will certainly agree that the spectacle he brought to the world of sports is something really unique and unforgettable. Thus, he is a true legend in all terms.

Manisha Adlakha