Diego Maradona: Late Argentina icon's best moments


Diego Armando Maradona has died.

The Argentina legend passed away on Wednesday, having suffered a cardiac arrest in hospital.

He was 60.

One of the best footballers of all time, perhaps the best, Maradona bewitched fans with his incredible footwork, amazing leadership, and the ability to win games all by himself.

Tributes have poured in from across the footballing world, with Pele, his eternal rival, hoping to one day play football with Maradona in heaven.

On such a momentous and tragic day, GIVEMESPORT thought it only right to look back at the very best moments from Maradona’s unbelievable career.

Grab yourself a mug of tea and relax; this is a belter.

The Hand of God

Of course. Where else could we start?

In a quarter-final against England, Maradona saw an opportunity and took it.

The ball was inadvertently sent towards Peter Shilton’s goal by Steve Hodge, the Three Lions midfielder, and it bounced high in the air.

Maradona jumped and used his fist to punch the ball into the back of the net. The goal was given.

After the game, he said that the goal was scored “a little with his head and a little with the hand of God.”

The greatest goal of all time

From madness to genius.

Maradona scored perhaps the greatest goal of all time in the same game against England.

Picking up the ball – not literally, though he might have tried it – in his own half, he zigged and zagged his way through the England defence, beating men at will, leaving Shilton on his bottom, and coolly slotted the ball into the back of the net.

The best goal ever scored at a World Cup bar none.

The World Cup final

Argentina in 1986 were not a great team but they did have Maradona. That made them World Cup winners.

Brutalised by the West German defenders who were wary of his trickery, their attentions were so focused on the superstar that Junior Brown and Jorge Valdano both scored for Argentina. They were 2-0 up but Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Rudi Voller equalised.

Maradona would have the last word. In a rare pocket of space, he managed to use his left foot to send through Jorge Burruchaga with a wonderful through ball, and his team-mate did the rest, scoring the winner and etching Maradona into footballing immortality.

Winning the double with Napoli

With Maradona in the team, Napoli had finished eighth and third.

In his third season, though, they clicked, and won both Serie A and the Coppa Italia.

Maradona scored the winner against Roma in a vital game en route to the title, before then setting up two goals in the 4-0 aggregate thumping of Atalanta in the cup final.

Naples danced as a result.

That warm-up

It’s one of the best videos you will ever see.

Maradona dances along to the music of ‘Live is Life’, a smash hit from the early 1980s.

This isn’t a normal warm-up, it’s an exhibition of astonishing skill, with keepy-uppies combined with dancing.

This is when sport meets art, and it was before the first whistle had even been blown. At one point, it even becomes clear Maradona hasn’t tied his boots up properly. Unbelievable.

Bernabeu standing ovation

It’s unheard of.

Barcelona players aren’t applauded by Real Madrid fans, but Maradona was.

In 1983, he scored a truly brilliant goal, dancing around the goalkeeper, and then sitting down a defender desperately trying to make it back onto the line, before tapping it home.

After the game, in which he was barely touched by the Real defenders, the Bernabeu rose to its feet to applaud the Argentine.

It took 22 years for it to happen again, when Ronaldinho repeated the feat.

Singing in the rain

Argentina, managed by Diego, were staring down the barrel of failing to qualify for the 2010 World Cup.

On a sodden night, they were level 1-1 with Peru heading into injury time. Peru’s equaliser had come in the 90th minute.

Step forward Martin Palermo, a super-sub, tapped home at the far post, having been selected by his manager after a 10-year absence from the national team.

Maradona subsequently went flying across the turf in a belly flop and Argentina did manage to qualify, though they lost in the quarter-finals to Germany.

UFC moves

This might not be his finest moment but it sure is a sight to behold.

Playing against Athletic Bilbao while with Barcelona, a Bilbao player told Maradona where to go with some expletives, and Maradona reacted, sending him to the floor.

That instigated a riot in which Diego took centre stage, teeing off with a number of kicks that wouldn’t look out of place in the Octagon.

That 1994 celebration

Playing against Greece at the 1994 World Cup, Maradona scored a wonderful goal, sending it into the top corner.

He wheeled away, eyes bulging, to scream into the camera.

He would later be sent home in disgrace after failing a drugs test and this perhaps encapsulated both the madness and the genius of the man.

Player of the Century

In 2000, FIFA ran a poll to decide the player of the century.

Maradona won by a landslide.

In an internet poll, he won 53.6% of the vote, while runner-up Pele got just 18.53%.

Pele actually also won the award because he came top of the voting among dignitaries but the people had spoken.

And, honestly, they were right.

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