Diego Armando Maradona was more than a football player — he was a world icon and a legend. After he retired from active football, he became a football manager and coach of Gimnasia de La Plata, an Argentine Primera Division Club. During his career, Maradona was known for his skills in passing, ball control, and vision, despite his small stature of 5 ft. 5 inches (1.65 m).
Throughout his career, he was also named “El Pibe de Oro” or “The Golden Boy” due to his creative abilities and eye for goal. Aside from his skills, Maradona’s presence and leadership had greatly affected their team’s performances. As well as that, Maradona was one of the greatest footballers that had obtained the FIFA Player of the 20th Century Award.
Moreover, Maradona set the world record transfer fee of about US$5 million when he transferred to the football club of Barcelona. The second time was when he had a transfer fee of Us$6.9 million to an Italian professional football club, Societa Sportiva Calcio Napoli, or simply known as Napoli.
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on October 30, 1960, Diego Maradona was the first son after his four other older sisters. Diego also had two younger brothers, Hugo and Raul, who also became professional football players. At the age of eight, Diego was spotted by a talent scout and was then became a member of the Argentinos Juniors, an Argentine sports club in Buenos Aires. Growing up, his inspirations were Roberto Rivellino and George Best.
In October 1976, Maradona debuted in Argentinos Juniors and had a match against Club Atletico Talleres. He then became the youngest player in the history of the Argentine Primera Division. During the game, Maradona entered the match wearing the number 16 jersey and made a nutmeg that would become famous and legendary.
From 1976 to 1981, Maradona played for the Argentinos Juniors. During his career with the team, Maradona scored 115 goals out of his 167 appearances before eventually transferring to Boca Juniors for US$4 million. Maradona received other offers, including from the Club Atletico River Plate, which offered to make him the best player ever paid. However, Maradona still chose the Boca Juniors as the team he wanted to play with.
He then signed with the Boca Juniors in February 1981 and made his debut with the club against Talleres de Cordoba, scoring twice in Boca’s 4-1 win. Afterward, the Boca Juniors had his first match against the River Plate in April that year in La Bombonera stadium. During his stay with the Boca Juniors, Maradona had a distrustful relationship with their manager, Silvio Marzolini. However, the Boca Juniors still had a successful season. In fact, they even won a league title after their match against the Racing Club de Avellaneda, or simply known as Racing Club.
Moreover, Maradona had also participated in an international match (World Cups in years 1982, 1986, 1990, 1994) with the Argentina National Football Team, wherein he earned ninety-one caps, alongside his thirty-four goals. In World Cup 1986, where he captained his team, Argentina won the match over West Germany. It was also when Maradona had obtained the Golden Ball for being the tournament’s best player. Also, in the 1986 World Cup quarter-finals, Maradona scored both goals in a 2-1 championship against England National Football Team.
Following this retirement from active football playing, Maradona held several managerial positions related to football. He coached the Argentinian national football team in 2008 and led his team’s campaign during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. He also coached Al Wasl Football Club in the UAE Pro-League in the 2011 to 2012 season. Furthermore, he also coached the Fujairah Football Club in 2017, before he left the season. Later on, Maradona was announced as the new chairman of FC Dynamo Brest, a football club of the Republic of Belarus. From 2018 to 2019, he coached the Mexican football club Dorados de Sinaloa, or simply Dorados.
Maradona died of a heart attack at his home Dique Lujan, a locality in Buenos Aires Province, on November 25, 2020. He was 60 years old. Two weeks prior to his death, he underwent brain surgery.
Tributes immediately poured in after news of Maradona’s death was announced. The Argentine Football Association expressed its “deepest sorrow” over the death of one of the country’s football legends, adding that Maradona will be in their hearts. Fans and colleagues will remember Maradona for his exciting style of play that will never be duplicated. In the world of football and especially for most Argentinians, Maradona is an icon, and will forever be one.