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Diego Maradona: Biography from Argentina to Napoli

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Since he first kicked a football as a youth in Argentina, Diego Maradona has been a spectacular player. He started his career in his home country, and steadily grew in popularity and fame. He transferred to Spain, and spent the top years of his career in Napoli, Italy. However, the most memorable moments of Maradona’s career have been played on the international stage at the World Cup. He scored both the Goal of the Century, and a goal referred to as the Hand of God goal, and these are two of the most exciting moments in sports history. In this video, learns more about the life and career of Diego Maradona.

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Biography: Diego Maradona

He is football’s Golden Boy, and one of the greatest players ever to grace the field. Learn more about the life and career of Diego Maradona.

Early Life

Diego Armando Maradona was born October 30th, 1960 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Just before turning sixteen, he became the youngest player to debut with the national team by playing his first professional game with the Argentinos Juniors.

Playing Style

Maradona was known as a team player, and his trademark moves required razor-sharp accuracy. His playing style was accentuated by his short stature, strength and technical skill with the ball.

Rising Popularity

He stayed with the Argentinos Juniors until his transfer to the Boca Juniors in the middle of the 1981 season. After a weak showing for Argentina in the 1982 World Cup, Maradona was traded to FC Barcelona, and his 5 million pound fee was a record high for that time.

FC Barcelona to Napoli

Though he helped his team win the Copa del Rey in 1983, his career in Spain was troubled. He was plagued with health problems, injuries and disputes with team management. Finally in 1984 he was transferred to the Italian football club Napoli, and was given another record fee of 6.9 million pounds.

Success in Italy

Maradona then began to thrive as a player both in Italy and internationally, and he was loved by the public. During his tenure, Napoli won the Serie A championships twice, and grabbed the Coppa Italia in ‘87, the UEFA Cup in ‘89 and Italian Supercup in 1990.

International Play

Meanwhile internationally, Maradona competed in the World Cup four times for the Argentine national football team, in 1982, 1986, 1990 and 1994. The team was eliminated in the second round in ‘82, but four years later Maradona led them to victory in the finals.

"Hand of God" Goal

However, it was Argentina’s quarter-final win over England on June 22nd, 1986 that proved to be the most famous game of Maradona’s career. He scored twice to win that game 2 to 1, but the first of those goals was the subject of controversy. In the second half of the match, Maradona punched the ball in with his hand, and the infraction was missed by the referee. This was later nicknamed the “Hand of God” goal due to a post-game comment by Maradona himself.

"Goal of the Century"

Just four minutes later, Maradona raced almost 200 feet down the field and past five English players to score what is now called “The Goal of the Century.” This moment went down in history as one of the greatest moments in sports.

1990 World Cup

He was less impressive in the 1990 World Cup due to an ankle injury, and the team lost in the finals to West Germany.

Personal Troubles

Despite his overall success, Maradona’s personal troubles continued. He was fined by his team for missing practices and games, fathered an illegitimate son, and continued his cocaine use. He was also banned from play for fifteen months after testing positive for drugs. With a tarnished reputation, Maradona left Napoli in 1992.

Late Playing Career and Retirement

He played in Seville for a year and then joined Newell’s Old Boys. In 1994, he appeared in the World Cup one last time, for just two games. He was expelled from the tournament when he tested positive for ephedrine. His final game was played for the Boca Juniors on October 25th, 1997.

After his Retirement

After his retirement, Maradona remained a fan favorite, penned his autobiography and hosted an Argentine talk show. In 2005, he returned to Boca Juniors in a managerial position, though he left the next year. He also suffered from health issues, including a heart attack and hepatitis, but he finally managed to kick his drug and alcohol habits mid-decade.

Coaching Career

In 2008, he became the coach of the Argentine national team, and was temporarily banned from football again after using foul language at a press conference. He oversaw Argentina’s appearance at the 2010 World Cup, and despite their successful first round they were eliminated in the quarter finals. His contract with Argentina was not renewed, and in 2011 he was hired as coach of the United Arab Emirates club Al Wasl.


While his personal life has not always been perfect, there is no denying that Diego Maradona is one of the greatest football players of all time.

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