Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy 50th Birthday Maradona!

Just like I wrote about Pele's 70th birthday some time ago, I decided that it would be only fair to write about another legend of the game's 50th birthday. That legend is Diego Armando Maradona.

I thought that I'd start with a quote, one by probably our generation's best player, Lionel Messi who was inspired by Maradona. Here's what the Barcelona winger said about El Diego,
“Even if I played for a million years, I’d never come close to Maradona. Not that I’d want to anyway. He’s the greatest there’s ever been.”
- Lionel Messi 
Big words for a big man, Maradona practically achieved everything a man could want in his career. Diego started his career off at Argentinos Juniors, where he played 167 games and scored 115 goals for the club. From there he went to Argentina's big boys, Boca Juniors where he became well-known around the world for his speed, trickery, and goalscoring talent.

Diego was snapped up by Barcelona for 5 million Pounds, which at the time was a record setting transfer fee. In Spain, although Maradona scored goals,  he didn't have the best of times mainly because of getting his leg broken, which jeopardized his career. So Maradona moved again, and this time he went to where he'll be remembered best, Naples.

“To my generation he was the greatest we’d ever seen.”
- Pep Guardiola 

Maradona was transferred to Napoli for 6.9 million Pounds, again setting the record for the highest transfer fee paid for a soccer player at the time. It was in Italy where he reached the peak of his career, and he was the driving force which won Napoli their two and only scudetto's in the club's history in 1987 and 1990.

There isn't much more to tell about Maradona's club career, after Napoli he went to Sevilla, but didn't do very well with them, and so he returned to Argentina where he finished off his career. But Maradona did also did great things with the Argentinean national team, and some say that he was truly at his peak when he played in the 1986 World Cup for Argentina where he scored five goals and gave five assists. He scored probably two of the best remembered goals in the world, the hand of god, and the goal of the century, both against England in the quarter-finals.

“What Zidane could do with a ball, Maradona could do with an orange.”
- Michel Platini 

Maradona led Argentina to the nation's second World Cup victory having played every minute of every game of the 1986 World Cup, and today he is regarded as the best soccer player of all time by many. He inspired generations of players which are legends today like Lionel Messi, Ronaldinho, Raul, Paolo Maldini, and Figo.

I hope you've enjoyed this little article about Maradona and his 50th birthday. Considering that it's the birthday of a legend, go ahead an indulge today: start a random game of soccer in a local park, buy yourself a new jersey, or watch a match on TV. Just make sure you remember about the man who gave us so many emotions, a man of humble origins who became a legend of the beautiful game.

Happy Birthday Maradona.

2 comments:

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