Diego Armando Maradona (Lanús, 30 October 1960 – Tigre, 25 November 2020) was an Argentine footballer, soccer coach and sports manager, an attacking midfielder, world champion in 1986 and vice world champion in 1990 with the Argentine national team. Already idolized by his playmates for his amazing skills, he was immediately given the nickname “El pibe de oro” which will remain attached to him even when he becomes a celebrity. Taking note of his talent, he tries the path of professional football: his career begins in “Argentinos Juniors”, and then continues in “Boca Juniors”, also in Argentina.
His extraordinary abilities could not fail to be noticed and like his great Brazilian predecessor Pele ‘, at just sixteen he is already forced to play for the Argentina national team, thus burning all the stages with a flash. However, Menotti, the Argentine technical commissioner at the time, did not call him for the 1978 World Cup, however, considering him too young for a strong and important experience like that.
From that moment the escalation of the champion is unstoppable. After fulminating tests in the league, he flies to the 1982 World Cup in Spain where he gives light to an exceptional Argentina with two goals, even if in the key moments of the matches with Brazil and Italy, he fails to shine as he should, even being expelled. It is almost a myth: the only footballer who has become so popular and so loved that he almost completely eclipses the football star par excellence, Pele.
Maradona in Naples
The next adventure is perhaps the most important of his life (apart from the world, of course): after numerous negotiations he arrives in the city that will elect him as its standard-bearer, which will raise him to an untouchable idol and saint: Naples. Pibe de oro himself has repeatedly stated that it has become his second homeland after Argentina.
The history of the champion seems to be heading towards a sad conclusion, here is the last blow of the tail, the call-up for USA ’94, to which we owe an amazing goal to Greece. The fans, the world, are hoping that the champion has finally come out of his dark tunnel, that he will return to being the same as before, instead he is again stopped for use of ephedrine, a substance prohibited by FIFA. Argentina is in shock, the team loses motivation and determination and is eliminated. Maradona, unable to defend himself, shouts at yet another plot against him. In October 1994 Diego is hired as a coach by Deportivo Mandiyù, but his new experience ends after only two months. In 1995 he coached the Racing team, but resigned after four months. Then he returns to play for Boca Juniors and the fans organize a big and unforgettable party at the Bombonera stadium for his return. He remained at Boca until 1997 when, in August, he was found positive again for a doping control. On his 37th birthday, el Pibe de oro announces his retirement from football.
On November 2, 2020, a few days after he turned 60, he was rushed to a clinic in La Plata due to an emotional breakdown and on November 4, in Buenos Aires, he underwent a delicate brain operation for the removal of a subdural hematoma of traumatic origin.