The passing of Diego Maradona at age 60 was met with global shock and sorrow. Argentina declared three days of mourning in honor of the man affectionately known as “God” for his incredible impact on the sport of soccer.
A joint winner of FIFA Player of the Century in the 20th century, Maradona’s talent and skill on the field earned him the nickname “The Golden Boy” and cemented his legacy as one of the greatest players in history. 
His small stature and low center of gravity made him a formidable opponent, and his leadership and free-kick expertise greatly influenced his team’s success.  Let us remember the legendary player by reliving his most memorable moments, such as his iconic performances against England at the 1986 World Cup. 
The Ultimate Entertainer
Diego Maradona was already a household name when Argentina traveled to Mexico for soccer’s showpiece event. Revered in Naples for his exploits with SSC Napoli, he would lead Gli Azzurri to their first-ever league title the following year. He captained an unfancied, mediocre La Albiceleste side at the 1986 World Cup.
A global audience watched as El Pibe de Oro ascended to divinity. Diego Maradona starred as Argentina cruised to the knockout round with dazzling footwork, mind-boggling close control, and a seemingly inexhaustible fountain of creativity.
In the quarter-finals, he would take center stage, showing both sides of Diego Maradona. The pesky and the stunningly brilliant.
The Hand Of God
Just after halftime, with the game still scoreless, Diego Maradona drove through the midfield, picked out a teammate, and continued his run into the box.
The ball fortuitously found its way back to the diminutive magician, who leaped above legendary goalkeeper Peter Shilton and punched it into the back of the net. His transgression went unnoticed by the officials. The infamous “Hand of God” was born.
This iconic moment in soccer history perfectly encapsulates the polarizing aspect of El Diego.
He was a master of the dark arts, and made a habit of breaking the rules on and off the pitch—a debauchee with little time for moderation and a recusant with a bias for overstepping the line.
Diego Maradona’s Goal Of The Century
Moments later, as he received the ball and took off on a marauding run once more, the world held its breath. Then, one by one, he bypassed the English backline with unsettling repose before rounding Shilton.
Within four minutes, Diego Maradona had brought England and their manager, Bobby Robson, to their knees. It felt as though the planet had come to a standstill. Disbelief palpably gripped the astonished spectators.
The “Goal of the Century” was Diego Maradona at his best. Pure and joyous, freedom personified. Inspired by their number ten, Argentina went on to win the World Cup, cementing El Diego’s status as an all-time great. The curly-haired superstar had reached a level of deification hitherto unseen.
Seraphic on the pitch, yet painfully human off it. When he wasn’t embroiled in escapades, Diego Maradona used his notoriety to fight for the oppressed. He touched the hearts of millions through football, his talent thrusting him into the spotlight, ordained to be the face of the world’s most popular game.
Diego Armando Maradona was a mortal who attained immortality.
Lifting The 1986 World Cup Trophy
Throughout the World Cup, Diego Maradona was responsible for most of Argentina’s shots and attempted an impressive 90 dribbles, three times more than any other player. The attacking midfielder was fouled 53 times, resulting in twice as many free kicks for Argentina as any other player.
In the final match, Maradona played a pivotal role in securing the winning goal and scored an astounding 10 out of Argentina’s 14 total goals, solidifying his reputation as one of the all-time greats in football.
The accolades and adulation El Pibe de Oro received after the World Cup were a testament to his virtuosic performance, where many considered him the sole architect of his team’s championship victory. Diego Maradona was awarded the Golden Ball, a unanimous decision by the soccer experts, recognizing him as the tournament’s best player.
Diego Maradona Stats And World Cup History
- 1979 FIFA World Youth Championship winner
- 1986 FIFA World Cup winner
- 1990 FIFA World Cup runner-up
- 1993 Artemio Franchi Trophy winner
- 1979 FIFA World Youth Championship Golden Ball
- 1986 FIFA World Cup Adidas Golden Ball
- 1990 FIFA World Cup Adidas Bronze Ball
- FIFA Goal of the Century winner (for his second goal against England in the 1986 FIFA World Cup quarter-final) 
FIFA World Cup Appearances
- 21 appearances, 8 goals, 12 wins; 4 draws; 5 losses
- Belgium 1-0 Argentina
- Argentina 4-1 Hungary (2 goals)
- Argentina 2-0 El Salvador
- Italy 2-1 Argentina
- Brazil 3-1 Argentina
- Argentina 3-1 Korea Republic
- Argentina 1-1 Italy (1 goal)
- Argentina 2-0 Bulgaria
- Argentina 1-0 Uruguay
- Argentina 2-1 England (2 goals)
- Argentina 2-0 Belgium (2 goals)
- Argentina 3-2 West Germany (World Cup Final)
- Cameroon 1-0 Argentina
- Argentina 2-0 USSR
- Argentina 1-1 Romania
- Argentina 1-0 Brazil
- Argentina 0-0 Yugoslavia
- Argentina 1-1 Italy
- West Germany 1-0 Argentina (World Cup Final)
- Argentina 4-0 Greece (1 goal)
- Argentina 2-1 Nigeria
- 1976 – 1981: Argentinos Juniors
- 1981 – 1982, 1995-1997: Boca Juniors
- 1982 – 1984: FC Barcelona (Spain)
- 1984 – 1991: Napoli (Italy)
- 1992 – 1993: Sevilla (Spain)
- 1993 – 1994: Newell’s Old Boys
Total Appearances: 491 matches, 259 goals
- UEFA Cup winner: 1989
- Argentinian Championship winner: 1981
- Italian Championship winner: 1987, 1990
- Spanish Cup winner: 1983
- Italian Cup winner: 1987
- Italian Super Cup winner: 1991
- FIFA Player of the Century
- MasterCard World Team of the Century inductee
- FIFA 100
- South American Footballer of the Year: 1979, 1980 
- Argentinian Championship top scorer: 1979, 1980, 1981
- Italian Championship top scorer: 1988
, , , and : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diego_Maradona
Carlo Fumagalli / AP (main image)