The debate at the moment as to who is the greatest footballer of all time is very much a live issue. The performances of fellow Argentinian, Lionel Messi in recent times has provided a fresh stimulus for the argument. Messi’s skills were show-cased at Wembley in the European Champions League final against Manchester United last year and many now regard Barcelona as the greatest football club side of all time. It might be argued that Maradona isn’t even the best Argentinian footballer of all time!
A FIFA poll conducted on the internet concluded that Diego Armando Maradona most certainly was the best soccer player of all time. What do the facts show about this fine player and what drives the diverse range of opinions held about him?
After early spells at Argentinos Juniors and Boca Juniors, Maradona’s first European club was Barcelona where he won the Copa del Rey and Spanish Super Cup but it was his move to Italy that saw his career really hit the high notes.
Very few players can be credited with winning games single-handedly, let alone championships and tournaments. Yet Diego Maradona has been widely credited with single-handedly taking Napoli to two Italian Serie-A championships, winning the UEFA Cup and the Italian Cup. To put such achievements in context, Napoli had never won the league championship or any European honours prior to his arrival, and nor have they since his departure.
The accolades about Maradona do not stop there and many believe he won the World Cup for Argentina in 1986 all on his own. The 1986 World Cup tournament proved to be the greatest and most memorable of his career, scoring a spell-binding individual goal against England, and one with, shall we say, divine intervention? Yes, in the very same game he scored his infamous “hand of God” goal. Maradona was not only rewarded with a World Cup Winner’s medal but also the Golden Ball for being the best player of the tournament.
So what qualities and attributes made Maradona one of the world’s best footballers of all time?
His diminutive physique gave him a low center of gravity and he was always very difficult to knock off the ball. He was a fine reader of the game and could strategise moves and create goal scoring opportunities with excellently executed approach-play. His individual goal against England featured here shows how the ball appears almost glued to his feet and how he is able to keep possession by skipping over tackles.
In the coming weeks and months we will have the opportunity to watch a rich array of videos about the Argentinian and we will draw upon the opinions of fans and professionals alike.
Is Diego Armando Maradona the greatest footballer in history? The debate will continue to rage.