The Rise and Fall of Football Legend: Diego Maradona

The Rise and Fall of Football Legend: Diego Maradona

When you think of silky and skillful dribbling, the first name that pops up is Maradona’s. Diego Armando Maradona could escape tight spaces and had the ability and intelligence to create goal-scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates. Too bad for punters in the past who didn’t have much chance to bet on big names on Netbet, the best online betting platform with live in-play odds on major sports. Join now to claim free bets offered to new customers and promotions to existing members.

He was at his time and still regarded as one of the best footballers in history. He was born on 30th October in 1960 as the fifth child in a family of eight in a close-knit family of Diego Sr. and Dona Tota. Maradona’s passion for soccer was ignited when he was gifted a soccer ball at the tender age of 3. At ten years old, Maradona was brought into Argentinos Juniors’ youth club known as Los Cebollitas. He showcased his class as the club cruised past other teams having an undefeated streak of 136 games. He was soon brought into the senior team days before his 16th birthday.

With his playing style, Maradona mostly played as an attacking midfielder and sometimes as a second striker. He was completely dominant and led various clubs to glory in Argentina, Spain, and Italy. Maradona’s peak performance came in 1986 when Argentina won the world cup. The most memorable match perhaps was the quarter-final in which he scored two goals and an obliviously illegal one, also known as “the hand of God.” However, the second goal was a marvel where Maradona out skilled defenders using his quick feet to dribble away and score. In total, Diego Maradona made 91 international appearances for Argentina and played in four world cups, scoring an impressive 34 goals in the process.

Maradona quickly became the hero of many Argentines of the lower class and also in Southern Italy, where he played for Napoli, leading them victories over some of the richest clubs. In his 21-year career, Maradona made 490 club appearances scoring 259 goals, placing him among the best players in the history of soccer.

Despite his impressive soccer technique and ability, Maradona had a shortcoming and quickly became a controversial figure in football. During his career in the 1980s in Spain, he became addicted to cocaine and was even suspended for 15 months after testing positive for cocaine in 1991. Three years later, Maradona suffered another painful suspension after testing positive for an illegal substance, Ephedrine, during the world cup. Maradona returned home announcing his retirement in 1997, a day before his birthday. Numerous injuries and tough living weakened his physical abilities and skills.

What goes around always comes back around. Maradona’s youthful living finally caught up with him in his retirement. In 2000 and 2004, he was hospitalised for heart problems, the latter being so bad that he required the assistance of a respirator to breathe normally. Worse still, he underwent gastric bypass surgery the following year.

In an event marked by controversy, FIFA organized an internet poll named Maradona as the best player of the 20th century. However, a special panel was organised to guarantee that Pele would be named instead of Maradona. Things got ugly when Maradona rejected to share it with Pele, the Brazilian legend.

Maradona was brought in to coach the star-parked Argentine national team in 2008. With Messi at his prime, things looked promising for Argentina; however, things never made out as Argentina was threshed 4-0 by Germany in a one-sided quarter-final, and Argentina showed no interest in renewing Maradona’s contract. Al Wasl, an Arabian team, also hired Maradona but unfortunately was fired after the team struggled to get results. He got opportunities to work for the various clubs before joining Dorados de Sinaloa, a Mexican club, in 2018.

However, the numerous disappointments undergone by Maradona did not deter his Argentine fans from praising him, and he is still seen as one of the best players the country has produced. A boy from humble beginnings who used his talent to rise to fame at an international level.

On 25th November 2020, Maradona passed away from a heart attack at his home in Argentina. Maradona, who was recovering from an emergency brain surgery, passed away at the age of 60.

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