Diego Armando Maradona (born 30 October 1960) is a retired football player who played for various European clubs, such as Barcelona and Napoli during his career which lasted more than two decades. In football, Maradona is seen as a legend, though pundits are divisive on that. The Argentine ex-footballer is known for his amazing dribbles, playmaking skills as well as ball control abilities. His football career is one of the most successful in the history of the sports and few have lived up to the standard Maradona set for being the best player. In this Diego Maradona’s biography facts, childhood, career and personal life, we review in informative terms, the life of the football legend.
Diego Maradona’s Biography Facts, Age, Quick Info
Here are some quick facts you need to know about the Argentine football legend.
- Full Name: Diego Armando Maradona
- Nicknames: Barrilete Cósmico, D10S, El Diez, Dieguito, Pelusa
- Date of Birth: 30 October 1960
- Age: 59 years old
- Place of Birth: Buenos Aires, Argentina
- Nationality: Argentine
- Zodiac sign: Scorpio
- Height: 5 ft 6 in (1.67 m)
- Weight: 67 kg
- Father: Diego Maradona
- Mother: Dalma Salvadora Franco
- Brothers: Hugo Maradona, Raúl Maradona
- Sisters: Maria Rosa Maradona, Rita Maradona, Elsa Maradona, Ana Maria Maradona, Claudia Maradona
- Son: Diego Sinagra
- Daughters: Giannina Maradona, Dalma Maradona, Jana Maradona
Diego Maradona’s Early Life & Childhood
Diego Armando Maradona was born on 30 October 1960, into a poor family in Lanús in Buenos Aires, but grew up in Villa Fiorito, still located in Buenos Aires. He was the first male child born to his parents, Diego Maradona (father) and Dalma Salvadora Franco (mother).
From an early age, Maradona had shown great interest in football that at the age of 3, a football was presented to him as a present. He soon began playing football locally and by the time he was 8 years old, he was spotted by a scout, Francisco Cornejo, who was astounded by his impressive football skills while he was playing for Estrella Roja, a local football club in his neighbourhood.
While he played football as a young child, he greatly admired George Best and Roberto Rivellino. He soon began playing for the youth team of Argentinos Juniors. He instantly became a fan favourite as well as a sensation following his style of play which includes great football skills as well as entertaining dribbles.
Diego Maradona’s Professional Football Career
Argentinos Juniors (1976–1981), Boca Juniors (1981–1982)
Just days to Maradona’s 16th birthday, he debuted for Argentinos Juniors, precisely in October 1976. He was given the no. 16 jersey and thus became the youngest player to play in the Argentine Primera División. During his debut game, he announced his presence by performing an amazing dribble. He played for five years at Argentinos Juniors before he made the move to fellow Argentina club, Boca Juniors.
At Boca Juniors, a club Maradona intentionally chose to be transferred to despite offers from other clubs, he achieved significant success such as winning the Metropolitano.
Following an impressive stint at the 1982 World Cup, Maradona moved to Barcelona for what was a world record amount of £5 million. His first trophy with Barcelona was the 1983 Copa Del Rey. In the El Classico held in June of that year, Maradona scored a very amazing goal against Real Madrid that fans in the stadium including opponent fans applauded him. He was the first Barcelona player to receive such ovation. His career soon was under threat after he was infected with Hepatitis and also sustained a fractured arm which took three months for him to recover from.
His stay at Barcelona wasn’t just successful it was also dramatic. In the 1983/84 Copa Del Rey final against Atletico Bilbao, Maradona was subjected to xenophobic taunts as well as rough tackles by Bilbao players particularly Miguel Sola. As the game ended in a 1-0 defeat for Barcelona, Sola taunted Maradona and the two exchanged insults which resulted in Maradona head-butting Sola, which led to brawls as Bilbao players tried to beat Maradona, leading to the intervention of Barcelona players.
The game turned to a brawl, which led fans to turn to throw objects into the pitch. The match had 60 injured individuals. The incident occurred in the presence of Spanish King Juan Carlos and a spectator of about 100,000 fans. The incident led to disputes between Maradona and Barcelona executives which led to his transfer to Napoli for £6.9 million, another was another World record amount.
In July 1984, about 75,000 fans gathered at the Stadio San Paolo to watch the official unveiling of Maradona as a Napoli player. His move to Napoli was significant due to the fact that the Serie A was dominated by teams from the Northern and central parts of the country. Teams in the southern part were not seen as top rivals. Aside from that, the economic divide, as well as a whole lot of issues between the North and South parts of Italy, added tension to football which was largely dominated by the North.
Maradona’s presence sparks a new era for Napoli as their performance improved greatly which earned them their first-ever Serie A title in the 1986-87 season. The next two season saw Napoli find the league runner-up but in the 1989/90, they once again won the league. Maradona also helped Napoli win other tournaments such as the Copa Italia in 1987, the 1989 UEFA Cup and 1990 UEFA Super Cup. His goalscoring ability helped him progressed to become the club’s all-time leading scorer, which was surpassed in 2017.
But his success on the pitch drove him to the edge in his personal life. Maradona’s continual use of cocaine affected him as he missed games and training and was thus fined $70,000. His son from an extra Marital affair was born and there were rumours that he had close ties to Naples based criminal organization, Camorra. He soon tested positive to the use of cocaine and was banned for 15 months, which led to his disgraceful exit from Napoli. His jersey was thus retired in honour of his achievements at the club.
Sevilla (1992–1993), Newell’s Old Boys (1993–1994), Boca Juniors (1995–1997)
Following the completion of his 15-month ban, he was subjected to interest from Real Madrid and Serie A club, Marseille, but he chose to play for Sevilla, for a year. After the completion of his contract at Sevilla, he went in to play for Newell’s Old Boys, before going on to play for two years at Boca Juniors.
Diego Maradona International Career
After he was left out of the 1978 World Cup due to the coach’s concern that he was too young, he performed brilliantly at the 1979 World Youth Championship where he led Argentina to victory and was awarded the tournament Golden boot. He played at the 1979 World Cup. He featured in his first World Cup in 1982, where he played in five games as Argentina were unsuccessful in their world cup conquest.
In the 1986 World Cup, Maradona established himself as a legend. In the tournament, he played in all games for Argentina. He also registered his famous “Hand of God” goal against the United Kingdom in the quarter-final of the competition. His second goal in the game against the UK was voted the best goal in the history of the World Cup as well as the best goal in the 20th century, as he dribbled from his own half and in 11 touches scored a magnificent goal.
He was named the tournament Golden Ball winner, which made him the first player to win the Golden Ball at the FIFA U-20 and FIFA World Cup level. At the 1990 World Cup, he successful led Argentina to the final but lost by a goal to West Germany in the final. In the 1994 World Cup, he scored his last goal against Greece before he was dismissed from the tournament after failing a doping test.
Diego Maradona Personal Life, Wife
In November 1984, Maradona married Claudia Villafañe. They got divorced in 2004, but maintain a friendly relationship. Maradona is the father of Diego Sinagra, a child he had with a woman while he played at Napoli. He has two daughters, Dalma Nerea and Gianinna Dinorah, from his relationship with Claudia Villafañe.
Maradona is a Catholic as he his from a Roman Catholic family.
In November 2011, his mother died at the age of 81, while his father died in June 2015 at the age of 87.
Maradona was addicted to drugs as a footballer, and also suffers from Obesity. He also suffered from alcohol abuse in the past.
Maradona is vocal about his political opinions. He was a friend to Cuban dictator, Fidel Castro and also resented Former US President George Bush presence in Argentina. But since the election of Barrack Obama he has had a positive opinion of the US. He is a long time supporter of embattled Venezuelan president, Nicolas Maduro, despite division over who legitimately runs the country.
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