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Diego Maradona

Claimed Divine Intervention

In Maradona's first goal of that game, the ball bounced off his fist, a violation of one of soccer's most stringent rules, but the referees did not see his hand touch the ball before it landed in the net. Maradona later said that it was not his hand, but rather the "hand of God" that had put the ball in the net. Later in the game, Maradona ran 55 yards down the field, deftly eluding England's defense, and again scored. England lost and was ejected from the quarterfinals, and Argentina went on to beat West Germany. In England, Maradona was excoriated in the press, derided for what was seen as a decidedly unsportsmanlike move; in Argentina, however, the win was heralded as yet another example of what Argentines prided themselves as possessing as a national character trait, viveza, or triumph through cunning.


1961 Born October 30, in Buenos Aires
1970 Joins Los Cebollitas youth team
1976 Turns pro, joins Argentinos Juniors
1978 Becomes youngest player ever on Argentine national team
1980 Signs with Barcelona of the Spanish League
1982 Is ejected for foul during 1982 World Cup game against Brazil
1984 Barcelona sells contract to Napoli of the Italian League
1986 Scores infamous "hand of God" goal in World Cup game against England
1989 Marries Claudia Villafane
1991 Earns 15-month suspension after testing positive for cocaine
1992 Plays for Seville in Spanish League
1993 Returns to Argentina, joins Newell's Old Boys
1994 Tests positive for ephedrine and is ejected from World Cup play
1995 Plays final season for Boca Juniors
1997 Announces retirement from professional soccer
2000 Autobiography Yo Soy El Diego becomes bestseller; relocates to Cuba for two-year period

Back in Naples, Maradona remained a major celebrity and inarguably the Italian League's biggest star. But stories of drug use and illegal gambling began to dog him, and he was rumored to have links to the Neapolitan camorra, or organized-crime syndicate. As he gained weight and grew sloppy in his training habits, Italian sportswriters enjoyed poking fun at him. At the time, he was soccer's highest earner. "For some veteran observers, Maradona is a symbol of all that has gone wrong with the sport of soccer," wrote Sports Illustrated's Rick Telander. "He is aloof and mercenary, whereas most great former players were supposedly kind, grateful and dedicated beyond the limits of monetary reward."

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Famous Sports StarsSoccerDiego Maradona Biography - A Star In Europe, Claimed Divine Intervention, Chronology, Fewer Goals, More Acrimony, Contact Information - SELECTED WRITINGS BY MARADONA: