Oct 30, 1960 to Nov 25, 2020
Lanús, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Barcelona, Spain, Naples, ItalyDiego Armando Maradona was an Argentine professional football player and manager. Widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, he was one of the two joint winners of the FIFA Player of the 20th Century award.
The end of the 1983–84 season included a violent and chaotic fight Maradona was directly involved in at the 1984 Copa del Rey final at the Santiago Bernabéu in Madrid against Athletic Bilbao. After receiving another rough tackle by Goikoetxea which wounded his leg, being taunted with xenophobic, racist insults related to his father's Native American ancestry throughout the match by Bilbao fans, and being provoked by Bilbao's Miguel Sola at full time as Barcelona lost 1–0, Maradona snapped. The mass brawl was played out in front of the Spanish King Juan Carlos and an audience of 100,000 fans inside the stadium, and more than half of Spain watching on television.
Maradona transferred to Napoli in Italy's Serie A for another world record fee, £6.9 million ($10.48M). 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.
Maradona married long-time fiancée Claudia Villafañe on 7 November 1984 in Buenos Aires, and they had two daughters, Dalma Nerea (born 2 April 1987) and Gianinna Dinorah (born 16 May 1989), by whom he became a grandfather in 2009.
Argentina eliminated England at the Azteca Stadium, also 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". 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, swiveled 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.
During a meeting with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican in 1987, they clashed on the issue of wealth disparity, with Maradona stating, "I argued with him because I was in the Vatican and I saw all these golden ceilings and afterwards I heard the Pope say the Church was worried about the welfare of poor kids. Sell your ceiling then amigo, do something!".
Maradona era in Napoli included the UEFA Cup in 1989. The 1989 UEFA Cup Final was a football tie played on 3 May 1989 and 17 May 1989 between S.S.C. Napoli of Italy and VfB Stuttgart of West Germany. Napoli won 5–4 on aggregate.
The 1990 FIFA World Cup Final was a football match played between West Germany and Argentina to determine the winner of the 1990 FIFA World Cup. The game took place on 8 July 1990 at the Stadio Olimpico in Italy's capital and largest city, Rome, and was won 1–0 by West Germany, with a late penalty kick taken by Andreas Brehme being the game's only goal.
At the 1994 World Cup in the United States, Maradona played in only two games (both at the Foxboro Stadium near Boston), scoring one goal against Greece, before being sent home after failing a drug test for ephedrine doping. After scoring against Greece, Maradona had one of the most infamous World Cup goal celebrations as he ran towards one of the sideline cameras shouting with a distorted face and bulging eyes. This turned out to be Maradona's last international goal for Argentina.
Maradona Retired. In 1996, he played in a friendly match alongside his brother Raul for Toronto Italia against the Canadian National Soccer League All-Stars. Maradona was himself given a testimonial match in November 2001, played between an all-star World XI and the Argentina national team.
FIFA Player of the Century was a one-off award created by FIFA to decide the greatest football playerof the 20th century, announced at the annual FIFA World gala, held in Rome on 11 December 2000. Diego Maradona and Pelé were joint winners of the award.
In 2001, the Argentine Football Association (AFA) asked FIFA for authorization to retire the jersey number 10 for Maradona. FIFA did not grant the request, even though Argentine officials have maintained that FIFA hinted that it would.
Maradona has topped a number of fan polls, including a 2002 FIFA poll in which his second goal against England was chosen as the best goal ever scored in a World Cup; he also won the most votes in a poll to determine the All-Time Ultimate World Cup Team.
Maradona admitted he is the father of Diego Sinagra (born in Naples on 20 September 1986). The Italian courts had already ruled so in 1993, after Maradona refused to undergo DNA tests to prove or disprove his paternity. Diego Junior met Maradona for the first time in May 2003 after tricking his way onto a golf course in Italy where Maradona was playing.
Maradona had a tendency to put on weight and suffered increasingly from obesity, at one point weighing 280 lb (130 kg). He was obese from the end of his playing career until undergoing gastric bypass surgery in a clinic in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, on 6 March 2005.
On 22 June 2005, it was announced that Maradona would return to former club Boca Juniors as a sports vice-president in charge of managing the First Division roster (after a disappointing 2004–05 season, which coincided with Boca's centenary). His contract began on 1 August 2005, and one of his first recommendations proved to be very effective: advising the club to hire Alfio Basile as the new coach. With Maradona fostering a close relationship with the players, Boca won the 2005 Apertura, the 2006 Clausura, the 2005 Copa Sudamericana, and the 2005 Recopa Sudamericana.
On 15 August 2005, Maradona made his debut as host of a talk-variety show on Argentine television, La Noche del 10 ("The Night of the no. 10"). His main guest on opening night was Pelé; the two had a friendly chat, showing no signs of past differences. However, the show also included a cartoon villain with a clear physical resemblance to Pelé. In subsequent evenings, he led the ratings on all occasions but one. Most guests were drawn from the worlds of football and show business, including Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane, but also included interviews with other notable friends and personalities such as Cuban leader Fidel Castro and boxers Roberto Durán and Mike Tyson. Maradona gave each of his guests a signed Argentina jersey, which Tyson wore when he arrived in Brazil, Argentina's biggest rivals.
In 2005, Maradona came to Venezuela to meet Chávez, who received him in the Miraflores Palace. After the meeting, Maradona said that he had come to meet a "great man" (un grande, which can also mean "a big man", in Spanish), but had instead met a gigantic man (un gigante). He also stated, "I believe in Chávez, I am a Chavista. Everything Fidel does, everything Chávez does, for me is the best".
On 26 August 2006, it was announced that Maradona was quitting his position in the club Boca Juniors because of disagreements with the AFA, who selected Alfio Basile to be the new coach of the Argentina national team.
In August 2007, Maradona went further, making an appearance on Chávez's weekly television show Aló Presidente and saying, "I hate everything that comes from the United States. I hate it with all my strength."
After the resignation of Argentina national team coach Alfio Basile in 2008, Maradona immediately proposed his candidacy for the vacant role. According to several press sources, his major challengers included Diego Simeone, Carlos Bianchi, Miguel Ángel Russo and Sergio Batista.
In March 2009, Italian officials announced that Maradona still owed the Italian government €37 million in local taxes, €23.5 million of which was accrued interest on his original debt. They reported that at that point, Maradona had paid only €42,000, two luxury watches and a set of earrings.
After winning his first three matches in charge of the national team, he oversaw a 6–1 defeat to Bolivia, equalling the team's worst-ever margin of defeat. With two matches remaining in the qualification tournament for the 2010 World Cup, Argentina was in fifth place and faced the possibility of failing to qualify, but victory in the last two matches secured qualification for the finals. After Argentina's qualification, Maradona used abusive language at the live post-game press conference, telling members of the media to "suck it and keep on sucking it". FIFA responded with a two-month ban on all footballing activity, which expired on 15 January 2010, and a CHF 25,000 fine, with a warning as to his future conduct.
After defeating Mexico 3–1, however, Argentina was routed by Germany 4–0 in the quarter-finals to go out of the competition. Argentina was ranked fifth in the tournament. After the defeat to Germany, Maradona admitted that he was considering his future as Argentina coach, stating, "I may leave tomorrow."
Maradona began his managerial career alongside former Argentinos Juniors midfield teammate Carlos Fren. The pair led Mandiyú of Corrientes in 1994 and Racing Club in 1995, with little success. In May 2011 he became manager of Dubai club Al Wasl FC in the United Arab Emirates. Maradona was sacked on 10 July 2012.
In April 2013, Maradona visited the tomb of Hugo Chávez and urged Venezuelans to elect the late leader's designated successor, Nicolás Maduro, to continue the socialist leader's legacy; "Continue the struggle," Maradona said on television.
In September 2014, Maradona met with Pope Francis in Rome, crediting Francis for inspiring him to return to religion after many years away; he stated, "We should all imitate Pope Francis. If each one of us gives something to someone else, no one in the world would be starving."
On 17 August 2015, Maradona visited Ali Bin Nasser, the Tunisian referee of the Argentina–England quarter-final match at the 1986 World Cup where Maradona scored his Hand of God, and paid tribute to him by giving him a signed Argentine jersey.
In October 2015, Maradona thanked Queen Elizabeth II and the Houses of Parliament in London for giving him the chance to provide "true justice" as head of an organization designed to help young children.
During the 2018 World Cup match between Argentina and Nigeria, Maradona was shown on TV cameras behaving extremely erratically, with an abundance of white residue visible on the glass in front of his seat in the stands. The smudges could have been fingerprints, and he later blamed his behavior on consuming lots of wine.
In September 2018 Maradona was appointed manager of Mexican second division side Dorados. On 13 June 2019, after Dorados failed to clinch promotion to the Mexican top flight, Maradona's lawyer announced that he would be stepping down from the role, citing health reasons.
On 5 September 2019, Maradona was unveiled as the new head coach of Gimnasia de La Plata, signing a contract until the end of the season. After two months in charge, he left the club on 19 November.
Maradona insisted that Gabriel Pellegrino remain club President if he were to stay with Gimnisia de La Plata. However, it was still not clear if Pellegrino, who declined to run for re-election, would stay on as club President. Originally scheduled to be held on 23 November 2019, the election was delayed 15 days.
On 26 November, Maradona's wake, which was attended by tens of thousands of people, was cut short by his family as his coffin was relocated from the rotunda of the Presidential Palace after fans took over an inner courtyard and also clashed with police.