World Cup 2014 - 84 days to go: Greats - Diego Maradona

20 March 2014 10:09

Widely considered one of the greatest players in the history of modern football and was jointly named the player of the 20th century alongside Pele after a tie in a variety of FIFA polls. His career, legend and infamy was mostly cemented by two goals in one game in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.

The first which he was initially evasive about and initially put down to head and hand, describing "a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God." It became known as the "Hand of God" goal. He celebrated the goal knowing that it was a hand ball and encouraged his team-mates to hug him else the goal not be given.

The second was as much down to the fairness of the English game at the time as his undisputed skill on the ball. Maradona later admitted that the more cynical nature of world football at the time would have likely resulted in a ‘Professional foul’. The goal however was masterful and rightly named “Goal of the Century”.

Maradona was a short, compact player renowned for his dribbling ability, close-ball skill and short sprinting ability, attributes that served him well in the Quarter-Final against England in 1986.

As a personality he is the most controversial ever, being banned twice for failing drug tests (Cocaine in 1991 and Ephedrine in 1994) as well as for his conduct with the press.

He made 91 appearances for Argentina, scoring 34 goals between 1977 and 1994. He made 21 consecutive starts in four World Cups from 1982-1994, scoring 8 goals and making 8 assists.

As a consequence of his skill Maradona is the most fouled player in a single game and single-tournament of a World Cup. With 50 fouls against him in the 1990 World Cup and 23 fouls in the 1982 World Cup game against Italy a record that remains to this day.

Source: DSG