Remembering Diego Maradona
by Desmond Yu
Diego Maradona is regarded as one of the greatest players to ever grace the soccer pitch; he was a soccer icon. His name would always get mentioned in a conversation of greatest players in history. Some regard him as a god figure, worshipping him in the Iglesia Maradoniana - the Church of Maradona. Sadly on November 25, 2020, Diego Maradona passed away reportly from a heart attack. Football fans and athletes around the world have paid tribute to the Argentinian Legend.
Maradona made his professional debut for Argentinos Juniors against Talleres de Córdoba, on October 20, 1976, 10 days before his 16th birthday. After spending five years at Argentinos Juniors (1976 to 1981), and scoring 115 goals in 167 appearances, he made a four million US dollars transfer to Boca Juniors. He signed for Boca Juniors on February 20, 1981 and made his debut two days later against Talleres de Córdoba again. Maradona scored twice in the club's victorious 4-1 win. He won the league title with Boca Juniors that season, but it was his only title won in the Argentine Primera División.
Maradona made his debut for his national team, Argentina, when he was just 16, against Hungary, on February 27, 1977. He played in four World Cups in his career, and won one in 1986. In 1986 Maradona scored one of the most historic goals in soccer history against England. He scored with his hand instead of the head, Maradona stated "it was a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God". This was known as the Hand of God. That same game he dribbled past five English players before he also got past the goalkeeper with a feint, and put the ball into the net. In a 2002 online poll by FIFA conducted that this outrageous goal was voted "Goal of the Century.” He won the World Cup in this year, his last for Argentina.
After the 1982 World Cup, Maradona transfered over to FC Barcelona, where he had a successful career, getting hit with two injuries but still scored 38 goals in 58 games. He got a standing ovation (first for a Barcelona Player) by Real Madrid fans after scoring a beautiful goal in the El Clasico on June 26,1983. However in the 1984 Copa Del Rey Final against Athletic Bilbao, Maradona got violent with the Athletic Bilbao players.
This violence led to Maradona to transfer to Napoli, a Serie A team. He was adored by fans and took over the captain's armband from Napoli veteran defender Giuseppe Bruscolotti. He led this team to glory, winning the first league title for Napoli in history in the 1986–87 season. He got them another league title in 1989–90, and helped Napoli finish second place in the league twice, in 1987–88 and 1988–89. Maradona became the top goal scorer in 1987–88 with 15 goals, and was the all-time leading goalscorer for Napoli’s history at the time, with 115 goals, until the incredible record was broken by Marek Hamšík in 2017. Although he had a successful career with Napoli, he had many personal problems. He was famous for using cocaine at the time, and has received $70,000 US in fines from his club for missing games and practices, because of "stress". He left Napoli after a 15-month ban for failing a drug test for cocaine in 1992. He joined Sevilla and stayed for a year, after he joined Newell's Old Boys in 1993 but soon left in 1995 to return to Boca Juniors for a two-year period. This marks the end for the argentinian.
Maradona is one of soccer's greatest players of all time, it is sad to see a legend pass away so soon. He will be forever remembered, and his story will be told to generations of young players.