Friday, September 28, 2012

Diego Maradona

Diego Armando Maradona born 30 October 1960 is an Argentine football manager and former player. Many experts, football critics, former players, current players and football fans in general consider Maradona to be the greatest football player of all time. He was joint FIFA Player of the 20th Century with Pele. He is the only footballer to set world-record contract fees twice, firstly when transferring to Barcelona for a then world record £5m, and secondly, when transferred to Napoli for another record fee £6.9m. During his professional club career Maradona played for Argentinos Juniors, Boca Juniors, Barcelona, Napoli, Sevilla and Newell's Old Boys. 

In his international career, playing for Argentina, he earned 91 caps and scored 34 goals. He played in four FIFA World Cup tournaments, including the 1986 tournament, where he captained Argentina and led them to their victory over West Germany in the final, winning the Golden Ball award as the tournament's best player. In that same tournament's quarterfinal round, he scored both goals in a 2–1 victory over England that entered football history, though for two different reasons.

The first goal was via an unpenalized handball known as the "Hand of God", while the second goal followed a 60 m (66 yd) dribble past five England players, voted "The Goal of the Century" by voters in 2002. Maradona is considered one of the sport's most controversial and newsworthy figures. He was suspended from football for 15 months in 1991 after failing a drug test, for cocaine, in Italy, and he was sent home from the 1994 World Cup in the USA after testing positive for ephedrine. After retiring from playing on his 37th birthday in 1997, he gained weight, suffered ill health and the effects of cocaine use. 

In 2005, a stomach stapling operation helped control his weight gain, and he overcame his cocaine addiction. His outspoken manners have sometimes put him at odds with journalists and sport executives. Although he had little managerial experience, he became head coach of the Argentina national team in November 2008, and held the job for eighteen months, until his contract expired after the 2010 World Cup. 


After the 1982 World Cup, in June, Maradona was transferred to FC Barcelona in Spain for a then world record £5m. In 1983, under coach César Luis Menotti, Barcelona and Maradona won the Copa del Rey (Spain's annual national cup competition), beating Real Madrid, and the Spanish Super Cup, beating Athletic Bilbao. However, Maradona had a difficult tenure in Barcelona. First a bout with hepatitis, then a broken ankle caused by an ill-timed tackle by Athletic's Andoni Goikoetxea threatened with jeopardizing Maradona's career, but after treatment and therapy it was possible for him to soon be back on the pitch. 

At Barcelona, Maradona got into frequent disputes with the team's directors, especially club president Josep Lluís Núñez, culminating with a demand to be transferred out of Camp Nou in 1984. He was transferred to Napoli in Italy's Serie A for another record fee, £6.9m. 

1986 World Cup

Maradona captained the Argentine national team to victory in the 1986 FIFA World Cup, winning the final in Mexico against West Germany. Throughout the 1986 World Cup Maradona asserted his dominance and was the most dynamic player of the tournament. He played every minute of every Argentina game, scored 5 goals and made 5 assists. After scoring two goals in the 2–1 quarter-final win against England his legend was cemented. This match was played with the background of the Falklands War between Argentina and the United Kingdom and emotions were still lingering in the air throughout the entire match. Replays showed that the first goal was scored by striking the ball with his hand. Maradona was coyly evasive, describing it as "a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God." It became known as the "Hand of God". Ultimately, on 22 August 2005 Maradona acknowledged on his television show that he had hit the ball with his hand purposely, and no contact with his head was made, and that he immediately knew the goal was illegitimate. 

This became known as an international fiasco in World Cup history. The goal stood, much to the wrath of the English players. Maradona's second goal, just four minutes after the hotly disputed hand-goal, was later voted by FIFA as the greatest goal in the history of the World Cup. He received the ball in his own half, swivelled around, and with 11 touches ran more than half the length of the field, dribbling past five English outfield players (Peter Beardsley, Steve Hodge, Peter Reid, Terry Butcher, and Terry Fenwick) and goalkeeper Peter Shilton. This goal was voted "Goal of the Century" in a 2002 online poll conducted by FIFA.


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