It was often said that he lived with an angel on one shoulder, and a devil on the other –Diego Armando Maradona’s talent on the football pitch was unquestionable, but often counter-balanced by battles with addiction off it, it was truly his toughest rival.
However, this didn’t stop him being adored by football fans worldwide, often with demigod-like status. He will be remembered as one of the greatest players of all time, and certainly the best of his generation.
It was a golden age for football and he was the poster boy, making the iconic number 10 shirt his own. Maradona was subjected to foul play that we simply do not see in the modern game today, and still managed to come out on top.
Let us take a look back at Five of the Best Diego Maradona Moments:
Napoli secure the double – 1987
If you’re a football fan, there is one place to go once this pandemic is behind us – Naples. Every corner you turn, you’re sure to come face-to-face with street art in tribute to Maradona. The man is worshiped in this city, so much so that they’re planning to change the name of the stadium in his honour.
He was a hero from the minute he stepped foot in Italy, but it was what he achieved on the pitch that made him almost a higher power. After a trophy-less first two seasons, everything clicked in 1986-87. The only foreigner in Napoli’s squad scored 10 goals and helped guide Gli Azzurri to their first ever Serie A title, and to top it off, they toppled Atalanta 4-0 on aggregate to win the Coppa Italia as well.
Napoli’s UEFA Cup triumph – 1989
To date, Napoli’s only major continental honour, and the same was true of the man whose magic helped them secure it. In an era where Italian teams were the strongest in Europe, it was fitting that this Napoli side eventually got their hands on this piece of silverware.
The game that stands out in particular from this tournament was the quarter final vs Juventus.
2-0 down after the first leg in Turin, there was still chance as they headed back to Naples and a packed out Stadio San Paolo. Maradona bagged the opener from the spot, a rocket from Carnevale sent the game to extra time, where Renica’s header sent I Partenopei through, followed by an eruption not seen since nearby Vesuvius last blew.
*That* warm-up in Munich – 1989
It would be remiss of us not to include this, despite it not being a moment actually in the heat of battle.
This warm-up is almost certainly not medically advised; however, it perfectly encapsulates Diego Maradona – a player who loved the game surrounded by thousands who loved the way he played it.
Live is Life, a 1984 track from Opus, is now best remembered for this clip, viewed millions of times on YouTube and social media.
vs England – 1986 World Cup Quarter Final
If anything sums up Maradona’s career, it’s that he can score the goal that was *literally* awarded goal of the century, and it’s still not the most talked about Maradona moment of that same match (something to do with a hand of god, you might have heard of it).
The 5ft 5in playmaker seems to just run through the entire England team, amazingly starting inside his own half. Leaving Beardsley, Reid, Butcher, Fenwick and eventually Shilton all in his wake, before arching away in celebration. His brace would send the Argentine’s through to a semi final vs Belgium, where he’d net yet another brace to send his country to the World Cup final.
vs West Germany – 1986 World Cup Final
Having seen El Diego make a mockery of both England and Belgium beforehand, Franz Beckenbauer had instructed his side to go in hard on the mercurial number 10. After all, this was a West Germany side who hadn’t exactly lit up the tournament yet found themselves 90 minutes away from being world champions.
Maybe it was all this focus on Maradona that actually helped Argentina in to a 2-0 lead, through goals from Brown and Valdano. The West German’s eventually pulled the game back, but no sooner were they level, they were behind once more thanks to the instinctive brilliance of Diego Maradona.
After receiving the ball in the centre circle, he was swarmed by green shirts but managed to thread through a pin-point ball with his magic left foot, setting Jorge Burruchaga free to score the winner – securing the World Cup for Argentina.