Every soccer player young and old needs an inspirational figure head to motivate them towards greatness. And Diego Maradona is exactly that, his excellent technical skill on the pitch, combined with his expertise with managing teams, he most certainly is an inspiration to all soccer enthusiasts. So whether you are a devoted player or are thinking of branching into a more managerial role in the football world, Maradona is a great example of how the transition can be made effortlessly. Therefore within this article we are going to explore the history of Maradona and how his football career evolved over the years. So continue reading if you want to find out more about this highly significant player.
Where it all began for Maradona
Diego Armando Maradona was born on the 30th October 1960 and was raised in a shanty town just outside of Buenos Aires called Villa Fiorito. He was the first boy born in his family and has three older sisters and two younger brothers. And although their family was on a very low budget, Diego discovered his love for soccer and practised his skills regularly.
When he was only eight years old he was discovered by a talent scout when he was playing football at Estrella Roja which was a local club in his home town. Shortly after this he joined Los Cebollitas which was a junior soccer team for the Argentinos Juniors. And when he was 12 years old he used to amuse fans at matches by showcasing his soccer skills during half time of first division fixtures.
Maradona’s Technique on the Pitch
His skilful combination of dribbling, vision, close ball control, passing and creativity lead to him becoming one of the most adored players in the world. With his strong legs and short stature, Maradona’s centre of gravity was much lower than other player which allowed him to withstand physical pressure spectacularly while he was in possession of the ball. This therefore made him a fantastic strategist as he was able to hold off defenders long enough to pass to an open team mate or calculate effective dodges for a quick shot at the goal.
One of his signature moves on the field was to dribble at full-speed along the right wing and when he arrived at the goal line, he would successfully pass the ball accurately to a team-mate to score. Another classic move of his was called the Rabona which was where he performed a reverse-cross pass behind his supporting leg. His free kick technique was second to none also as once he raised his knee in preparation for the kick, no one stood a chance. This move enabled him to score goals accurately from close range as well as just outside of the penalty area.
Maradona’s Road to an Established Soccer Career
He first stepped out onto the pitch during his professional career just 10 days before he turn 16 and donned the number 16 for Argentinos Juniors. Less than a month after this he scored his first ever goal against Marplatense within the Primera Division on the 14th November 1976. With this soccer club he spent five successful years perfecting his skill and love for the sport. And throughout his time there he scored a grand total of 115 goals during his 167 appearances for the squad, he was definitely peaking the interest of other teams.
And in his early 20s he then signed for Boca Juniors for a $4m transfer fee, although he did receive interest from clubs such as River Plate who proposed a deal to make him the team’s best paid player. However, Diego ultimately wanted to play for Boca Juniors despite the exceptional offer from River Plate. After only two days after signing with Boca, he made his début against Talleres de Cordoba and helped lead the team to a 4-1 win by scoring half of the goals. Only a few months after this his team faced River Plate who originally offered him a place on the squad, and defeated them with a 3-0 victory.
During the 1982 World Cup, Diego Maradona’s skill on the pitch when playing for Argentina captured the eyes of Barcelona. And in 1983 he transferred to Barca from Boca Juniors for a world record breaking fee of the times of $7.6m. When playing with his new squad, they had great victory when beating Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao to the titles in the Copa del Rey and Spanish Super Cup. And during the 1983 El Clasico match against Real Madrid, Maradona became the first Barca player to ever be applauded by Real Madrid supporters when he scored. His expertise on the field earnt him the respect and admiration of his fellow squad members and soccer fanatics worldwide when he dribbled past the Goalkeeper dodged the defenders for a clear shot.
However, his stint with Barcelona didn’t last long after an aggressive brawl occurred during the 1984 Copa del Rey with Maradona at the centre of it all. But thankfully, that was not the last we saw of his talent on the pitch, he signed with Napoli in the July. With this team fans of Diego are certain this is where he reached the peak of his professional career. Not long after playing with Napoli, he earnt the captain’s armband and was loved by supporters as he helped elevate the team within the Italian soccer leagues. With Maradona captaining the team they won their first ever Serie A Championship in 1986/87. After this successful win, murals featuring Maradona were displayed on the side of ancient buildings, supporters celebrated the defeat of AC Milan and Juventus in creative ways and new-born babies were also named in his honour.
But like his time with Barcelona, his stint with Napoli was short lived after a series of allegations and stress induced issues forced him to leave the club. But after only 15 months of not playing, he returned again and signed with Sevilla, despite the interest of Real Madrid and Marseille. However, he only spent one season with Sevilla before he moved to Newell’s Old Boys for two years before returning to his routes and signing with Boca Juniors in 1995 for two years.
In terms of his international career playing with Argentina, he scored an impressive 91 goals out of his 34 caps for the team during his senior career. And when he was playing for the under 20s teams he scored 24 goals in 13 appearances which was astonishing for such a young player at the time.
Biggest Achievements across His Football Career
It is safe to say that Diego Maradona earnt his fair share of awards and honours throughout his successful soccer career. Some of these were acquired as part of the club teams he played with, as well as the Argentina national team. However, there were a greater number of individual awards given to Maradona. Below we have listed all of his team awards along with a selection of the individual honours.
- Argentine Primera Division – 1981 Metropolitano (Boca Juniors)
- Copa del Rey – 1983 (Barcelona)
- Copa de la Liga – 1983 (Barcelona)
- Serie A – 1986/87, 1989/90 (Napoli)
- Coppa Italia – 1986/87 (Napoli)
- UEFA Cup – 1988/89 (Napoli)
- Supercoppa Italiana – 1990 (Napoli)
- FIFA World Youth Championship – 1979
- FIFA World Cup – 1986
- Artemio Franchi Trophy – 1993
- Argentine Primera Division top scorers – 1978 Metropolitano, 1979 Metropolitano, 1979 Nacional, 1980 Metropolitano, 1980 Nacional
- FIFA World Youth Championship Golden Ball – 1979
- FIFA World Youth Championship Silver Shoe – 1979
- Argentine Football Writers’ Footballer of the Year – 1979, 1980, 1981, 1986
- South American Footballer of the Year – 1979, 1980
- Olimpia de Oro – 1979, 1986
- Guerin d’Oro – 1985
- UNICEF European Footballer of the Season – 1989/90
- FIFA World Cup Golden Ball – 1986
- FIFA World Cup Silver Shoe – 1986
- FIFA World Cup Most Assists – 1986
- FIFA World Cup All-Star Team – 1986, 1990
- Onze d’Or – 1986, 1987
- L’Equipe Champions of Champions – 1986
- Capocannonier Serie A Top Scorer – 1987/88
- Coppa Italia Top Scorer – 1987/88
- FIFA World Cup Bronze Ball – 1990
- FIFA World Cup All-Time Team – 1994
- South American Team of the Year – 1995
- Ballon d’Or for services to football (France) – 1996
- World Team of the 20th Century – 1998
- Argentine Sports Writers’ Sportsman of the Century – 1999
- Marca Leyenda – 1999
- FIFA Player of the Century – 2000
- FIFA Goal of the Century – 2002
- Golden Foot – 2003
- Argentine Senate Domingo Faustino Sarmiento – 2005
- Globe Soccer Awards Player Career Award – 2012
Maradona Retires to Becomes Football Manager
After a few years being retired from the glorious game, Maradona announce in 2005 that he would return to his former team – Boca Juniors only to have a new role. He returned as a sports vice president and was in charge of managing the roster for the First Division. His first advice to the club was to hire Alfio Basile as the new team coach and this had a fantastic impact on the squad and was very effective. And because of these new changes to Boca Juniors, they went on to win the 2005 Apertura, 2006 Clausura, 2005 Copa Sudamericana and the 2005 Recopa Sudamericana.
During this time he also spent a number of years managing a series of soccer teams. His first team in which he took this position with was the Argentinos Juniors throughout the mid-nineties. And in 2011 he became manager of a Dubai soccer team called the Al Wasl FC but his time with them was short lived. But in 2012 he was given the role of mental coach for Deportivo Riestra, but he left this position to become head coach of Fujairah in 2017. Shortly after this he was appointed manager of Dorados who are a Mexican second division squad.
Along with club management, Maradona also spent some time managing international teams too. Alfio Basile, who he recommended to coach Boca Juniors, left his role as the Argentina national team coach, which Maradona took as an opportunity to apply for his position. And later in 2008, Maradona was appointed head coach for the Argentina national team, and he was in this role up until 2010 when he then started to manager club teams again.
In Your Opinion, How Did Maradona Impact Soccer?
Within this article we have taken a look at Diego Maradona’s career and explored his achievements on and off the field. But with all of this said, we want to know what your opinion is on him, do you think he is making a very effective manager? What was your favourite soccer moment for the number 10? Let us know over on our social media pages now!
You can also shop the latest and previous Argentina football shirts at Soccer Box. In stock we also have an array of Barcelona and Napoli apparel and accessories to replicate the pride felt when Maradona donned their crests.
This article was written exclusively for Soccer Box by Loren Astbury