Drug addiction,drug rehab, football cheat,football's greatest goal.Just some of Diego Armando Maradona's achievements in his chequered career.This football genius had single handedly won Argentina the 1986 World Cup,an achievement which meant the country's hopes and expectations would be resting on the broad shoulders of their greatest ever playmaker for at least another two tournaments.
Maradona was born in Buenos Aires in October 1960.He moved from his first club Boca Juniors to Barcelona in 1982.The World Cup was held in Spain that year,and Maradona would make his tournament debut at his new home The Nou Camp,against Belgium.Already he was seen as the games new star,and survived some tough tackling. Maradona was superb in the second game and scored twice against Hungary in a 4-1 romp.In the second round the cynical fouling on him continued in the must win game against Brazil.Maradona's retaliation saw him sent off in the 85th minute,and that ended Maradona's and Argentina's World Cup year.
In the heat of Mexico Maradona was at his best for the 1986 World Cup.In the Group stages he set up three goals in an easy defeat of south Korea,he scored in the 1-1 draw with Italy and was again influential in the final group game when they beat Bulgaria.The Argentinian could be quiet and almost invisible in games,but could soon turn a match with his breathtaking sublime skill.
In the quarter final against England Maradona would produce two differing pieces of artistry which would leave the Azteca stadium onlookers watching in astonishment and amazement.England were just holding their own when goalkeeper Peter Shilton came out to punch clear the ball, but he was beaten to it by another hand, that of Maradona's,who guided into the net to make it 1-0.It was obvious to most on television and in the stadium,he celebrated wildly,and the goal stood.He later professed it the "Hand of God."Four minutes later, Maradona started a run in his own half, showing terrific speed he waltzed past six bewildered England players,he then went past Shilton and contemptuously stroked the ball into the net.Now he was celebrating the World Cup's greatest ever goal.
In the semi final two more dazzling solo goals from Maradona saw them beat Belgium 2-0.Against West Germany in the final , Maradona seemed To be snuffed out of the game, but with the score at 2-2, another piece of brilliance saw him hit a great through ball to Burruchaga who scored the winning goal to give Argentina their second World Cup triumph.
Diego Maradona captained the national side in the 1990 world Cup finals in Italy.By now the free flowing football had disappeared.it was a ruthless Argentina team that had ground their way to the final. They only won two games, and two penalty shoot-outs led them to the final with the now overweight Maradona still their best player.In the Final against West Germany, he could not inspire them. It was a dull and dour affair, settled by a penalty awarded to the German's in the 85th minute.
Once again it was there Talisman who inspired them to qualify for the 1994 World Cup Finals in the USA. At 33 and still overweight, he was recalled to the Argentine team,and he scored in the 4-0 victory over Greece.His next game against Nigeria was his last ever World Cup game,as he was to fail a routine drugs test,and subsequently thrown out of the tournament.He made his excuses, but it was the end.In 21 World Cup appearances he scored 8 goals.
Maradona was never out of the news,over the years drugs and alcohol had took it's toll on his career. His cocaine addiction started in 1982 and lasted until he suffered a heart attack in 2004.The next three years were constantly spent in clinics,drug rehab and hospitals where he was to undergo major surgery,and he even came close to death.In 2007 he announced he had given up alcohol and had been clean from drugs for over two years.The Argentinian public would forgive him,and he became the National team coach in 2008,and has since guided them to the 2010 World Finals in South Africa.
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