1 minute read

Diego Maradona Biography

A Star In Europe, Claimed Divine Intervention, Chronology, Fewer Goals, More Acrimony, Contact InformationSELECTED WRITINGS BY MARADONA:


Argentine soccer player

During the 1980s, Argentine midfielder Diego Maradona was one of soccer's greatest stars. Over the course of 483 games at the professional level, Maradona scored a record 255 goals, and was regularly hailed as the best living player in the world, second only to Pelé as the sport's most extraordinary talent. Yet Maradona often made unwise statements to the press, and began running into trouble with the law as his fame soured to infamy. His controversial goal in the 1986 World Cup contest earned him a permanent place in the annals of sports history: in a quarterfinals game against Britain, Maradona's hand touched the ball, but the resulting goal remained valid, and Argentina went on to beat West Germany for the World Cup that year. For that, Maradona was a beloved folk hero in his country, despite his highly publicized hijinks off the field. One pundit for the Economist remarked that Maradona "helped to liberate Argentine pride at a time when, under military rule, nationalism was a matter of some ambivalence."

Maradona was born in 1961 in the Villa Fiorito slum of Buenos Aires. The family was of Indio, or non-European heritage, and he was one of seven children in the poor household. His first soccer ball was a gift, and he allegedly became so attached to it that he began sleeping with it. A standout player even as a child, he led the city's Los Cebollitas youth team on a 140-game winning streak. At the age of 14 he joined the Argentinos Juniors franchise, and led them to the World Junior Championship. In 1977, he became the youngest player ever to win a spot on the Argentine national team; the following year, however, with the 1978 World Cup slated to begin in Argentina, he was denied a spot on the team. It was a slight he did not easily forget, and after playing with another

Diego Maradona

juniors team for a time in Buenos Aires, Maradona took his talents overseas.


Yo Soy El Diego. Santiago: Planeta Publishing, 2000.

Sketch by Carol Brennan

Additional topics

Famous Sports StarsSoccer