Story Of A Legend - Diego Maradona

By: Niv Orlian

Life offers us some truly close choices at times when it comes to figuring out what's best; Pepsi or Cola? Puppies or kittens? Pele or Maradona? All of these pairs have several common factors that make them great, but they're also unique in their own way and that's exactly the case with the Pele and Maradona comparison, a comparison that sparked enormous and passionate debates throughout modern history.

In the 1970s, Pele had already established himself as a huge name in soccer and was already being considered the greatest player to have ever lived. No one even came close to his glory, until a short, stuffed Argentinean player called Maradona walked on the soccer field for the first time.

Maradona was born in a poor family, but as with all Argentinean families of that time, soccer was a central part of their lives. Maradona and his two younger brothers started up playing soccer from an early age and he was spotted as a great talent around age 11, when he was taken to the youth squad of Buenos Aires' Argentinos Juniors, where he would amuse spectators with his juggling tricks during halftimes in the senior squad's games.

Soon enough, Maradona established himself in the senior squad at age 16, being called for the national team around the same time. He played his first World Cup in 1982, scoring twice in 5 matches but also receiving a red card for a vicious foul. With Argentina beaten by Italy in the second round, Maradona had to wait another 4 years to get a chance at the shiny trophy and when he got that chance, he grabbed it with both hands.

The 1986 World Cup is deemed by many as the most spectacular one in the history of soccer and Maradona has a lot to do with that. He scored 5 goals throughout the Cup and also made 5 assists, but it would be the quarter-final against England that will remain in history. Maradona scored two goals that would cement his legend as both an outstanding and a tricky player.

His first goal of the match was scored with the hand, but the referee allowed it. Highly controversial, this goal later became known as the "Maradona hand of God goal". The second goal of the match, scored just 4 minutes after the Hand of God, is still widely known as the "Goal of the Century". Maradona picked up the ball close to his own penalty box and started a sprint that would end up in the English goal, 15 seconds, 70 meters, 5 defenders and a goalkeeper later.

Although his career was garnished with controversy, ranging from pitch-brawling to cocaine abuse, Maradona remains one of the most important figures in modern sports and together with Pele and Johan Crujff, forms the golden trio of all time soccer.

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