Written by Harry Dodds (@HDodds_BU)
The football world was sent into shock this week when it was announced that Argentina and Napoli legend Diego Maradona had passed away at the age of 60.
Maradona scored 259 club goals, won the World Cup for Argentina, and inspired millions of people in the process.
He is simply an icon.
Maradona will always be recognised by everyone in the football community and will be sorely missed. My thoughts and prayers are with Diego’s friends and family in this difficult time.
In his memory, I’m going to look at five of Diego Maradona’s most career-defining moments.
The 1979 World Youth Championships
Back in 1979, an 18-year-old Maradona arrived in Japan for the World Youth Championships.
Argentina would go on to win the competition, with Maradona winning the Best Player Award, scoring six goals and only falling short of the Golden Shoe by two goals.
He went into the tournament relatively unknown, but it was here where he started to make a name for himself as a top-level footballer.
Breaking the transfer record (twice)
Maradona set a new football record back in 1984 when he became the first player in history to break the transfer record twice!
He moved from Boca Juniors to Barcelona in 1982 for a then-record five million pounds, where his time in Catalonia was hindered by injuries and illness.
However, ‘El Pelusa’ didn’t do himself any favours during his spell at Barca, causing various problems for the club off the pitch, and concluding his spell with the club by starting an on-field brawl at the end of the 1984 Copa Del Rey final.
He was handed a three-month ban by the Spanish FA, which he never served, as was sold that summer to Napoli, for another world-record fee of £6.9m.
Maradona spent seven years in Naples, scoring 115 goals for the club and becoming their all-time leading goal scorer.
Napoli’s first Scudetto
When Maradona arrived in Naples, Napoli were without a Serie A title in their history, going on to finish eighth and third respectively in the Argentine’s first two seasons.
However, in the 1986/87 season, Napoli would win their first ever Scudetto, finishing three points clear of closest challengers Juventus.
Maradona was their top scorer in the league that season, netting 10 times in 29 games.
It was an historic year for Napoli and one that the fans who witnessed it won’t forget.
‘That’ game against England
The game that most fans will associate with Diego Maradona is the 1986 World Cup quarter-final against England.
Argentina took the lead through a goal that is now notoriously known as ‘the hand of god’ goal.
Maradona leaped above Peter Shilton and punched the ball into the net, with the referee and his linesman somehow missing the blatant cheating.
However, just four minutes later, he shocked the world again, this time for all the right reasons.
‘El Pelusa’ ran from eight yards inside the Argentina half to go past Beardsley, Reid, Butcher, Fenwick and finally Shilton before slotting the ball in to seal the win for Argentina.
The goal went on to be named ‘Goal of the Century’ by FIFA.
Winning the World Cup
Following that infamous quarter-final, Argentina progressed to the semis, where they would defeat Belgium 2-0, and meet West Germany in the final.
Maradona would set up the winning goal in a 3-2 win to give Argentina their first and only World Cup to this day.
The Argentine would also win the Golden Ball as the best player of the tournament.
Diego Maradona was simply unstoppable throughout the entire competition, winning the trophy for Argentina almost single-handedly, and cementing himself in the football history books as one of the greatest to ever play the game.
Rest in peace Diego, you’ll never be forgotten.