The God Of Football

The God Of Football

It was 30th Oct 1960 when a child was born to a poor family of Buenos Aires province, Argentina. Dalma Salvadora Franco and Diego Maradona had 8 children and they stayed in a shantytown on the outer skirts of Buenos Aires, Argentina, this child was the 5th of their 8 children.

Maradona got his first football at the age of 3 as a gift; his love for his gifted football was so immense that he use to sleep along with the football so that nobody steals it. It was looking like a normal childish behavior but nobody knew that the 3 year old boy would play the most pivotal role in the history of football.

His devotion towards the football game increased which was very much evident in his football skills and his talent was acknowledged at the age of 8 while he was playing in his neighbor club Estrella Roja. At the age of 10 he joined club Les Cebollitas (The Little Onions), the club was the most renowned club of Argentina and in no time he became the staple of that club.

The boy was very quick on the field during game and during half time of first division games he use to amuse spectators of the ground with his football techniques and skills. The boy was immensely talented and he considered Rivellino and George as his inspirational role model during his growing years.

Maradona played his debut match on 20th Oct 1976 for Argentinos Juniors, that day was 10 days prior to his 16th birthday. This created a mark for Mardona and he became the youngest player playing for Argentine Primera Division. The boy in the 16 number jersey played in a such a way that even after 30 years the player of the opponent team Juan Domingo Cabrera recalled the way Maradona applied his passing technique in the game. Maradona scored his first goal only 2 weeks later after turning 16 against Marplatense.

 After spending 5 years with Argentinos Juniors Mardona signed a contract with Boca Juniors and the boy played immensely well, the season of Boca Juniors was also one of the most remarkable seasons. After playing for Boca Juniors he received a record transfer fee of whopping 7.6 mn USD (56 Cr INR-current rate) of that time and started playing for Barcelona, Spain. In the year 1983 Maradona led Barcelona to win Copa Del Ray (Spain’s Annual National Cup Competition) beating Real Madrid. The winning series continued and the Spanish Super Cup was also won, beating Athletic Bilabo.

On 26 June 1983, Barcelona won the biggest club games El Clasico beating Real Madrid and during this match Maradona played so well that he became the first Barcelona player to be applauded by the fans of arch rival club Real Madrid.

Maradona’s stint with Barcelona was not smooth as he underwent ankle injuries but his desperateness for the game helped him in getting back in the field and he scored 38 goals in 58 games. The rise of his game was at its peak as he received another record transfer fee of 10.48 mn USD (77 Cr INR-current rate) from Italy’s series A club Napolis.

Maradona was welcomed by 75,000 fans when he arrived Naples, the craze of Maradona was so huge that a local newspaper wrote “We don’t have mayors, houses, schools, buses, sanitation but none of it matters as we have Maradona now.”

Napoli was the best professional stint for Maradona as he was at the peak of his career wherein he received the captain’s armband soon after joining the club. Led by Maradona, Napoli won their first ever series A Italian Championship in 1986–87. The victory was highly considered and the then Sportswriter David Goldblatt wrote, “The celebrations were tumultuous. A rolling series of impromptu street parties and festivities broke out contagiously across the city in a round-the-clock carnival which ran for over a week. The world was turned upside down. The Neapolitans held mock funerals for Juventus and Milan, burning their coffins, their death notices announcing ‘May 1987, the other Italy has been defeated. A new empire is born.”

The career of Maradona was so big with Napoli that despite various fines for not playing games and using cocaine substance his jersey 10 got retired with the exit of Maradona from the club which was later given to Lionel Messi.

Maradona debuted his first world cup in the year 1982 and he clinched the victory mark under his own leadership in the 1986 world cup. Maradona captained his country Argentina again in the year 1992 but this time the overall performance got effected by his ankle injury and they failed to gain the world cup title. In the next world cup during 1996 he played only for 2 games as he failed to pass the drug test for ephedrine doping.

Described as a “classic number 10” in the media Maradona was a traditional playmaker who usually played in a free role, either as an attacking midfielder behind the forwards, or as a second striker in a front two although he was also deployed as an offensive minded central midfielder in a 4–4–2 formation on occasion. 

Maradona was renowned for his dribbling ability, vision, close ball control, passing, and creativity, and is considered to have been one of the most skilful players in the sport. He had a compact physique and with his strong legs, low center of gravity, resulting balance, he could withstand physical pressure well while running with the ball. Despite his small stature while his acceleration, quick feet, and agility, combined with his dribbling skills and close control at speed, allowed him to change direction quickly, making himself quite difficult for opponents to defend against. Maradona is regarded as one of the greatest dribblers in the history of the game.

Diego Armando Maradona is no more with us but he has left us a great narration of success story to cherish which he carved with his talent, ability and hardship. He was one of the most controversial figures of the football but despite this fact he was awarded as the “Best Football Player Of 20th Century.” The use of banned substance or the issue with his personal life does matter but we all should focus on his resilience nature which created a new field for the player every time to create history. 

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