Some Lesser Known Facts About Diego Maradona
- He was born in a very poor family, his father was a brick-layer and mother a home-maker.
- His mother wanted him to become an accountant and often seized his football in his childhood to make him concentrate in studies.
- In his childhood, he used to sleep with the football inside his shirt to avoid it being stolen.
- In 1976, just before his sixteenth birthday, he made his professional debut with Argentinos Juniors.
- On June 2, 1979, he scored his first goal for Argentina against Scotland.
- In 1979, he played for Argentina in the FIFA U-20 World Cup and helped the team won the tournament. He won the Golden Ball award as the tournament’s best player.
- In 1982, he played his first World Cup tournament. They were knocked out of the tournament by Brazil in the second round.
- Following the World Cup, he joined FC Barcelona. In his two seasons with Barcelona, he scored 38 goals in 58 games.
- On November 7, 1984, he married his longtime girlfriend Claudia Villafane. The couple has two daughters, Dalma Nerea and Giannina Dinorah.
- He then moved to Napoli where he witnessed the pinnacle of his career. He led the club to win the Serie A Italian Championships twice in 1986-87 and 1989-90. Additionally, Napoli efficaciously attained the Coppa Italia in 1987, the UEFA Cup in 1989 and the Italian Supercup in 1990.
- He was the first player in football history to set the world record transfer fee twice.
- He led Argentina to 1986 FIFA World Cup victory. He scored 5 goals and made 5 assists in the tournament. He scored a goal with his hand against England in the tournament which famously came to be known as “Hand of God”.
- He led his team again in the 1990 FIFA World Cup. They reached the finals but lost to West Germany in the end.
- In 1991, he was tested positive in using cocaine and was handed a 15-month suspension.
- In 1992, he left Napoli to join Sevilla of Spain, where he played for a year. And later, joined Newell’s Old Boys.
- In the 1994 FIFA World Cup, he played just two games; scoring one goal before failing an ephedrine drug test and was hence ousted from the tournament. This also marked the end of his International career.
- In 1995, he returned to Boca Juniors and played with the club for two years, before announcing his retirement in 1997 on the eve of his birthday.
- Since the 1980s he was a drug addict which negatively affected his performance and health. In 2004, he suffered a major myocardial infarction following a cocaine overdose.
- In 2000, he was named the “Player of the Century” along with Brazilian legend Pele.
- In 2004, he and Claudia Villafane got divorced. In the proceedings, he confirmed having an illegitimate son, Diego Sinagra, who presently is a footballer in Italy. He also accepted of having an illegitimate daughter Jana Maradona with Valeria Sabalain.
- In 2008, his daughter Giannina married the Argentine footballer Sergio Aguero who later separated in 2013.
- In 2009, Italian authorities declared that he owed $45 million (₹306 Crore) in unpaid taxes, penalties, charges and interest. He paid just $48,000 (₹33 Lakh), 2 luxury watches and a set of earrings.
- In 2017, he accused his two daughters and his ex-wife of stealing $4.5million (₹30 Crore) from him and asked them to be jailed.
- In 2018, he was caught in a controversy when during the Argentina Iceland FIFA World Cup match he was seen smoking a cigar in the stadium, though smoking was ban in all the stadiums of the World Cup.
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