Maradona is regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. He was the first player in football history to set the world record transfer fee twice: first when he transferred to Barcelona for a then-world record £5 million, and second when he transferred to Napoli for another record fee of £6.9 million. But who, really, is Maradona?
Diego Armando Maradona was born on 30 October 1960, at the Policlínico Evita Hospital in Lanús, Buenos Aires Province. His family was poor, and he was raised in Villa Fiorito, a shantytown on the southern outskirts of Buenos Aires, Argentina. He was the first son after four daughters. He has two younger brothers, Hugo and Raúl both of whom were also professional football players.
Maradona arrived in Naples and started as a Napoli player. At Napoli, Maradona reached the peak of his professional career: he soon inherited the captain‘s armband from Napoli veteran defender Giuseppe Bruscolotti and quickly became an adored star among the club’s fans; in his time there he elevated the team to the most successful era in its history.
Maradona played his first World Cup tournament in 1982 in his new country of residence, Spain, they lost. Maradona captained the Argentine national team to victory in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, winning the final in Mexico City against West Germany.
A controversial figure in the sport, while he earned critical acclaim from players, pundits, and managers over his playing style, he also drew criticism in the media for his temper and confrontational behaviour, both on and off the pitch.
Maradona married fiancée Claudia Villafañe in 1984 in Buenos Aires, and they had two daughters, Dalma Nerea and Gianinna Dinorah by whom he became a grandfather in 2009. Maradona and Villafañe divorced in 2004. Maradona’s mother, Dalma, died on 19 November 2011.
From the mid-1980s until 2004, Maradona was addicted to cocaine. He allegedly began using the drug in Barcelona in 1983. By the time he was playing for Napoli, he had a full-blown addiction, which interfered with his ability to play football.
In March 2009, Italian officials announced that Maradona still owed the Italian government €37 million in local taxes, €23.5 million of which was accrued interest on his original debt. They reported that at that point, Maradona had paid only €42,000, two luxury watches and a set of earrings.
Maradona made 694 appearances and scored 354 goals for club and country combined, with a goalscoring average of 0.51. Maradona is widely regarded as the best player of his generation, as well as one of the greatest players of all time by several pundits, players, and managers, and by some as the best player ever. He is renowned as one of the most skilful players in the history of football, as well as being considered one of the greatest dribblers and free kick takers in the history of the sport.
The news of his death became a worldwide fare, with Argentina declaring a three-day holiday to mourn him.