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Diego Armando "El Pibe de Oro" ("The Golden Boy") Maradona

Birthplace: Lanús, Lanús Partido, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina
Death: November 25, 2020 (60)
Dique Luján, Tigre, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Immediate Family:

Son of Diego Maradona and Dalma Salvadora 'Doña Tota' Franco Cariolichi
Ex-partner of Private; Private; Private and Private
Father of Private; Private; Private; Private and Private
Brother of Private and Private

Managed by: Jason Lee Tomlinson
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Diego Maradona

Diego Armando Maradona (October 30, 1960, Lanús, Buenos Aires), is a former Argentine football player. He is regarded by many as one of the greatest soccer players of all time.

Early years

Diego Armando Maradona was born in Villa Fiorito, a shantytown in the southern outskirts of Buenos Aires, to a poor family who had relocated from Corrientes Province. He was the first son after three girls. He has two younger brothers, Hugo (el turco) and Eduardo (Lalo), both of whom were also professional footballers.

At age 10, Maradona was spotted by a talent scout while he was playing in his neighborhood club Estrella Roja. He became a staple of the cebollitas, the junior team of Buenos Aires side Argentinos Juniors. As a ball-boy in first division games, he amused spectators by showing his wizardry with the ball during the halftime intermissions.

Career as a player At age 15, Maradona made his debut with Argentinos Juniors, where he played between 1976 and 1981 before his transfer to the club that he supported, Boca Juniors, where he played during the remainder of the 1981 season and 1982 and secured his first league title. He debuted with the Argentina national football team ("la selección"), at age 16, against Hungary. At age 18, he played the Football World Youth Championship for Argentina, and was the star of the tournament, shining in their 3–1 final win over the USSR team.

In 1982, Maradona played his first World Cup tournament. In the first round, Argentina, as defending champions, lost to Belgium 0-1. Although the team convincingly beat Hungary and El Salvador to progress to the second round, they were defeated in the second round by Italy (1:2), the side which eventually won the cup, and Brazil (1:3), during which game Maradona was sent off for kicking an opponent.

Diego's Boca 1981 match-worn shirt, in his first season with his favourite team that he led to win the Argentine Apertura Metropolitan leagueLater in the year, Maradona was transferred to FC Barcelona. In 1983, under coach César Luis Menotti, Barcelona and Maradona won the Copa del Rey (Spain's annual national cup competition), beating Real Madrid. However, Maradona had an unhappy tenure in Barcelona: first a bout with hepatitis, and then an ill-timed tackle by Athletic Bilbao's Andoni Goikoetxea that put Maradona's career on the line; Diego's physical strength and willpower made it possible for him to be back on the pitch after only 14 weeks. While at Barcelona Maradona was introduced to drugs, and he remains addicted to them.

Maradona with Napoli's #10.Barcelona's management was not satisfied with Maradona, and in 1984 transferred him to SSC Napoli, where he became an adored star, lifting the team to its most successful era. Napoli won their only Italian Championships (1986/87 and 1989/1990), a Coppa Italia (1987), a UEFA Cup (1989) and an Italian Supercup (1990). Napoli were also runners-up in the Italian Championship twice (1987/88 and 1988/89).

Maradona led the Argentine national team to victory in the 1986 World Cup, the team winning 3–2 in the final against West Germany. Throughout the 1986 World Cup, Maradona asserted his dominance and was widely regarded as the best player of the tournament. However, it was the two goals he scored in the quarter-final game against England which cemented his legend. Action replay footage showed that the first goal was scored with the aid of his hand. He later claimed it was the "Hand of God" and described it as "A little of the hand of God, and a little of the head of Maradona," implying that God was ultimately responsible for the goal, because the referee had missed the handball offense. However, on 22 August 2005 Maradona acknowledged on his television show that he hit the ball with his hand purposely and that he immediately knew the goal was illegitimate. He recalled thinking right after the goal that "I was waiting for my teammates to embrace me, and no one came . . . I told them, 'Come hug me, or the referee isn't going to allow it.'"

In contrast, however, Maradona's second goal was an uncontroversial and impressive display of footballing skill. He ran half the length of the pitch, passing five English players (Glenn Hoddle, Peter Reid, Kenny Sansom, Terry Butcher, and Terry Fenwick) as well as goalkeeper Peter Shilton. This goal was voted Goal of the Century in a 2002 online poll conducted by FIFA. Argentina went on to defeat England 2-1 in that game. The two goals were ranked 6th in the 100 Greatest Sporting Moments in 2002 by the UK's Channel 4 television channel.

Maradona also captained Argentina in the 1990 World Cup, leading his team to the final, where they lost 1–0 to West Germany. He arrived at the 1994 World Cup and played two games (scoring one goal) before being sent home after failing a drug test for ephedrine doping. On this matter, he has suggested that he had an agreement, on which FIFA later reneged, to allow him to use the drug for weight loss before the competition in order to be able to play, so that the World Cup would not lose prestige because of his absence. This allegation was never proved, and many attribute his comment ("they cut off my legs") to Diego's anger at being suspended.

In Naples, where he is still beloved (having brought the local team their first scudetto), he also faced a scandal regarding an illegitimate son and was the object of some suspicion over his friendship with the Camorra, the local mafia.

Maradona left Napoli in 1992, after serving a 15-month ban for failing the drug test for cocaine, and played for Sevilla FC (1992–93), Newell's Old Boys (1993) and Boca Juniors (1995–97). He also attempted to work as a coach on two short stints, leading Mandiyú of Corrientes (1994) and Racing Club (1995) without much success. He retired from football on October 30, 1997.

Football style Short and stocky, Maradona had a very strong physique and could withstand physical pressure better than almost all players. His strong legs and low center of gravity gave him additional advantage in short sprints. This is illustrated by his two goals against Belgium in the 1986 World Cup.

He was also a wizard with the ball and could manage himself in limited spaces, attracting defenders only to quickly dash out of the melee (as in the second goal against England), or pass to a free teammate who would take the ball and score, like Burruchaga did to secure the 1986 World Cup.

Maradona could convert fragile possessions into goals. His goal against Italy in the 1986 World Cup demonstrated this. In Maradona's time defenses became more athletic, so both dribbling and securing possession of the ball required additional speed and the ability to think under stress.

One of Maradona's trademark moves was dribbling full-speed as a left wing, and on reaching the opponent's goal line, delivering accurate passes to his teammates that many times proved lethal. Another trademark was the Rabona or reverse-cross pass (shot behind the leg that holds all the weight), with which he provided several assists, such as the powerful cross for Ramón Díaz's header in the 1984 friendly against Switzerland.

Maradona's kicking had a mixture of precision and power that enabled him to score many free kicks. Since he seldom used his right foot for any decisive action, defenders were confounded the few times he did.

Personal Agents Jorge Cyterszpiller, a childhood friend, was Diego's first agent. He set up Maradona Producciones but did not score any major successes with merchandising, as counterfeiters would quickly imitate any product that came on the market. On his advice, Maradona started charging for interviews, a move that generated some controversy.

After breaking up with Cyterszpiller, Diego hooked up with Guillermo Coppola, a bank employee who had started representing players as a hobby and was already a major agent in the mid-1980s. Coppola oversaw the biggest contracts of Diego's career, but also was involved in the drug scandals of the early 1990s. Maradona and Coppola parted ways acrimoniously, and they still refer to the end of their relations as an "open wound".

Retirement and honours In 2000, Maradona published his autobiography Yo Soy El Diego ("I am The Diego"), which became an instant bestseller in his home country.

In the same year, Maradona was voted Player of the Century in an official FIFA poll conducted on the Internet, garnering 53.6% of the votes. Then, in an unannounced move, FIFA appointed a "Football Family" committee, which voted to elect Pelé alongside the Argentine. Maradona cried foul and left the awards ceremony as soon as his prize was awarded. (For more on FIFA's handling of the issue, see this Sports Illustrated article.)

In 2001, the Argentine Football Association asked FIFA for authorization to retire jersey number 10 as an homage to Maradona. FIFA did not grant the request, even though Argentine officials have maintained that FIFA hinted that it would.

Maradona has won other polls, including a 2002 FIFA poll in which his second goal against England was chosen as the best goal ever scored in a World Cup; he also won the most votes in a poll to determine the All-Time Ultimate World Cup Team.

On 22 June 2005, it was announced that Maradona would return to Boca Juniors as a sports vice president in charge of managing the First Division roster (after a disastrous 2004–05 season, which coincided with Boca's centenary). His contract began 1 August 2005, and one of his first recommendations proved to be very effective: he was the one who decided to hire Alfio Basile as the new coach. With Maradona staying very close to the players, Boca went on to win the 2005 Apertura title,the 2006 Clausura title, the Copa Sudamericana and the Recopa. As of 2006, Maradona remains aloof of day-to-day activities and is seen mostly on game days, cheering from his private box in the Bombonera.

On 15 August 2005, Maradona made his debut as host of a talk-variety show on Argentine television, La Noche del 10 ("The Night of #10"). His main guest on opening night was Pelé; the two had a friendly chat, showing no signs of past differences. In subsequent evenings, he led the ratings on all occasions but one. Most guests were drawn from the worlds of football and show business, but also included Fidel Castro, Mike Tyson and Hernan Crespo.

Personal life Maradona married long-time fiancée Claudia Villafañe on November 7, 1989 in Buenos Aires, after the birth of their daughters, Dalma Nerea (b. 1987) and Giannina Dinorah (b. 1989). In his autobiography, Maradona admits he was not always faithful to Claudia, even though he refers to her as the love of his life.

Diego and Claudia divorced in 2004. Daughter Dalma has since asserted that the divorce was the best solution for all, as her parents remained on friendly terms. Diego and Claudia traveled together to Napoli for a series of homages in June 2005 [4] and were seen together in many other occasions.

During the divorce proceedings, Maradona admitted he was the father of Diego Sinagra (b. Naples, 1986), as was claimed by the youth's mother Cristiana Sinagra. (The Italian courts had so ruled in 1993, after Maradona refused to undergo DNA tests for proving or disproving his paternity.) Diego Jr. met Maradona for the first time in May 2003 after tricking his way onto a golf course in Naples where Maradona was playing.

After the divorce, Claudia embarked on a career as a theater producer, and Dalma is seeking an acting career; she has expressed her desire to attend the Actor's Studio in Los Angeles.

His maternal grandmother, Salvadora, is of Croatian descent, her maiden name is Cariolichi (Kariolic), her father Mateo Kariolic emigrated from Korcula in the end of the 19th century. Dalma, his daughter is named afther the Croatian province of Dalmatia, in which Korcula is situated.

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Diego Maradona's Timeline

October 30, 1960
Lanús, Lanús Partido, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina
November 25, 2020
Age 60
Dique Luján, Tigre, Buenos Aires, Argentina