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Diego Maradona: The highs and lows of Argentina superstar's stellar football career

Diego Maradona passed away at the age of 60 on Wednesday after suffering from a heart attack.

India TV Sports Desk India TV Sports Desk
New Delhi Updated on: November 26, 2020 9:30 IST
Diego Maradona: The highs and lows of Argentina superstar's
Image Source : INDIA TV

Diego Maradona: The highs and lows of Argentina superstar's stellar football career

Argentina football legend Diego Maradona breathed his last on November 25. The 60-year-old former footballer died from a heart attack, and tributes have been pouring in from all over the world for the Argentine superstar.

In a celebrated playing career which spanned for 21 years, Maradona lifted the FIFA World Cup with Argentina in 1986, playing a key role in the side's campaign. He spent a significant part of his club career at Italian side Napoli, where he won the Serie A title twice. He scored 115 goals for Napoli in 259 appearances for the side.

Maradona also represented Spanish giants FC Barcelona prior to his transfer to the Italian club, spending two seasons at Barca.

While he was a brilliant player on the field, he also had a fair share of controversies -- both, on and off the field. Let's take a look at some of the highs and lows in Maradona's extraordinary career in football.

HIGHS

World Cup 1986

Maradona played a major role in Argentina's successful campaign in the 1986 FIFA World Cup. He scored five goals throughout the campaign, scoring all of the four goals Argentina scored throughout the quarterfinal and semifinal of the tournament. Maradona also bagged the most assists in the 1986 edition.

'Goal of the Century'

The Argentina star dashed past four outfield players and the goalkeeper in 10 seconds to score an incredible solo goal against England in the quarterfinal of the 1986 World Cup. It was voted as the 'Goal of the Century' in FIFA's 2002 fan poll.

Serie A titles

When Maradona joined Napoli in 1984, the side was yet to win a single league title. The Argentina supertstar was central to the club's success in the domestic first-tier, guiding the side to two titles in 1986 and 1990. 

Napoli is yet to add another Serie A title to their cabinet since Maradona's departure in 1991.

FIFA Player of the Century:

Maradona was jointly-awarded the FIFA Player of the Century honour with Brazilian legend Pele in 2000. In the internet vote, Maradona achieved a landslide victory for the honour, garnering 53.6% votes in his favour, as compared to Pele's 18.53%.

India Tv - Pele and Maradona.

Image Source : AP

Pele and Maradona.

LOWS

'The Hand of God'

In one of the most infamous cheats in sports’ history, Maradona, in the 1986 World Cup quarterfinal against England, also sneaked a goal past goalkeeper Peter Shilton by knocking the ball in with his left hand. Adding insult to injury, he later coined one of the most infamous phrases in soccer history, crediting that goal to the “Hand of God.”

'Revenge' for Falkland War

Many Argentines saw the 1986 WC quarterfinal victory against England as revenge for their country’s loss to Britain in the 1982 war over the Falkland Islands, which Argentines still claim as “Las Malvinas.”

“It was our way of recovering ‘Las Malvinas,’” Maradona wrote in his 2000 autobiography “I am Diego.”

“It was more than trying to win a game. We said the game had nothing to do with the war. But we knew that Argentines had died there, that they had killed them like birds. And this was our revenge. It was something bigger than us: We were defending our flag.”

Drug problems and their effect on his football career

Maradona failed a doping test in 1991 and was banned for 15 months, acknowledging his longtime cocaine addiction. He failed another doping test for stimulants and was thrown out of the 1994 World Cup in the United States.

In 2000, in what doctors said was a brush with death, he was hospitalized in the Uruguayan resort of Punta del Este with a heart that doctors said was pumping at less than half its capacity. Blood and urine samples turned up traces of cocaine.

After another emergency hospitalization in 2004, Maradona was counseled for drug abuse and in September of that year traveled to Cuba for treatment at Havana’s Center for Mental Health.

Antics at the 2018 FIFA World Cup

India Tv - Diego Maradona.

Image Source : AP

Diego Maradona.

His behavior at the 2018 World Cup in the stands underlined the sad decline of Diego Maradona. The Argentine captured the focus of cameras for his manic goal celebrations and rude gestures throughout the country's campaign in the tournament. He even needed medical attention after he appeared to collapse after one of Argentina's games. 

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