Diego Maradona passes away: A look at his 6 top moments from football
First Published Nov 25, 2020, 11:59 PM IST
Diego Maradona was considered one of the legends, as well as the GOATs of football. His sublime football skills had allowed Argentina to lift the 1986 FIFA World Cup. Also, it was his controversial ‘Hand of God’ goal that was one of the defining moments of his career.
When it comes to the greatest footballer of all-time, Diego Maradona is one such name that hastily comes to one’s mind. The Argentine legend played some unique football that not just helped him as well as Argentina, but he also changed the game forever.
Unfortunately, the legend is no more, as he passed away on Wednesday, after suffering a cardiac arrest. The football fraternity bids farewell to the icon, as the feeling would undoubtedly take some time to sink in, while we take a look at some of his defining career moments.
A dominating end with Boca Juniors: 1981 was the final season he represented his debut club, Boca Juniors. Nonetheless, he bid adieu in style. Just four months prior to the season end, he was up against Argentinos Juniors. Maradona came up with the performance of his life in club football, as he fired four past goalkeeper Hugo Gatti, who had called him “the little fatty” before the match. Consequently, Argentinos were humbled 5-3, while the way Maradona scored the goals were simply sensational.
‘Hand of God’: It is a familiar term to every football fan and was one of the defining moments of Maradona’s career. In the 1986 quarters against England, Argentina were on a roll. However, England were putting up the fight, as Maradona pulled out something controversial, yet beautiful. In the process of scoring a header, the action happened so fast that it seemed like he had done so with his head, only for replays to show that he had handled the ball. Although English players were convinced, the referee thought otherwise, as the goal stayed. “Now, I can say what I couldn’t at that moment, what I defined at that time as ‘The Hand of God’. What a hand of God, it was the hand of Diego!” he had said after Argentina won 2-1.
1986 World Cup Final: After he had embarrassed England in the quarters and Belgium in the semis, it was the turn for West Germany. Although the Germans were playing the final, their performance was average. Meanwhile, Franz Beckenbauer ordered his boys to target Maradona, which ultimately opened up space for the latter’s teammates, as his clean assists allowed them to score. Although Germany did give a fight, Maradona’s neat assist in the closing moments of the game helped them steal one, as they won 3-2.
Double with Napoli: As for his club career, Maradon had tremendous success with Serie A giants Napoli. The 1986-87 season was where he just nailed it, as he helped the side stay unbeaten in the opening 12 games of the season. Although Maradona could only score a goal against Roma in those matches, it was his gameplay that helped Napoli consolidate. As Napoli maintained the momentum and won the title, it was in the Coppa Italia final, where they beat Atalanta. Maradona contributed with a couple of goals to humble them 4-0, as Napoli scooped a prestigious double.
UEFA Cup 1988-89: The following season was even better for Napoli and Maradona. It was in quarters of the UEFA Cup when he helped to rescue the side against Juventus, beating them 3-2 on aggregate. In the semis, he helped the side tame Bayern Munich. As for the final against Stuttgart, he was involved in scoring just a goal in the opening leg, but his valuable assists did allow the side to notch up the curial win, as Napoli went home happy with the title on their shoulders.
Second Serie A: The very next season, Maradona was at it again, scoring 16 goals in the season. At a point, the side had scored 12 goals in 16 games, with half of them being scored by Maradona. Meanwhile, of the 16 goals, two came during their crucial title-winning match against Juventus, as Maradona was twice lucky.
1994 World Cup: Although this was certainly not his best moment, it is indeed a top one. While Maradona was confused about whether he should play the 1984 World Cup, he decided to go ahead. As Argentina beat Greece and Nigeria in the group stage, Maradona signed off by scoring goals against the latter. It was prior to their clash against Romania in the pre-quarters, where he was dropped from the squad after failing a drug test. It eventually led to their loss against Romania, while Maradona ended his career on a disgraceful note.
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