1. Diego Maradona

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Diego Armando Maradona is many things to many people. To some, he is the ultimate villain. The cheat who could score with his hand with the sole intention of deceiving the referee. To others, he is a bad role model. His statements are vulgar and negative, while his drug history is unprecedented for such a huge icon.

Yet, nobody would argue as to his innate natural ability. In terms of control of the ball, manipulation of it and eventual use of it, there has probably never been anybody as great as Diego Maradona.

All that culminated in that ridiculous goal against England at the 1986 World Cup final. Receiving the ball in the midst of three players in the center circle, he wriggled his way out and then began his long run towards goal. Players were left in his wake, all the more stunning by the speed at which he travelled and the close control with which he had of the ball. More importantly was his speed of thought.

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To maintain that sort of fast motion and still think of rounding the goalkeeper requires such quick levels of reasoning. Even surprisingly is that on the far side, Jorge Valdano was free and a simple pass would have seen the Real Madrid man score an easy tap in. But while it was simplistic to think that at such speed Maradona could not see his teammate,  that simply was not the case. Apparently, Maradona would confirm to Valdano that he always saw him there but could not find the perfect moment to release the ball to him.

It was the sort of calculations that only the quick mind of a genius can come up with.

Still, the calculations did not end there and Maradona led Argentina through in the semi-final. The final itself was also a different matter. Realising that the Germans were intent on man marking him, he drifted deep, creating space for his teammates to exploit.

And when West Germany’s resilience saw the game balance on a string, it was Maradona who finally had enough and decided to thread the needle with a visionary pass to Jorge Burruchaga. That assist decided the final.

Maradona however had not just been a mere larger than life presence. He had elevated himself to the point of silencing his doubters. Indeed, if there is pressure facing Lionel Messi going into this year’s World Cup, then the pressure facing Maradona in 1986 was so much grand.

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Unlike Messi, Maradona had not yet lifted a European club to such scaling heights. Coupled with the flop at the 1982 World Cup, Maradona was threatening to become a footballer who had never realised his full potential.

Instead, that potential was all released, probably fuelled by the hunger of previous failures. Always the rebel, Maradona rebelled against his current image to form a lasting image.

It was then that the greatest footballer in the world rose to the highest peak of his powers at the highest level possible. If every footballers dream is to single-handedly lead his nation into the world cup and captain his country in a starring performance en route to winning the trophy, then it is Maradona who actualised that ideal.

No other footballer has so dominated the World Cup as Maradona did in 1986. Similarly so, no other captain ever has.

[images courtesy of imortais do futebol]

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3 comments

  1. Diego Maradona !

    Diego could you do fitness and diet and get your soccer player weight I do everything at the background worldwide and od educate everybody in the Media Sports and Hollywood to Polics worldwide : try to Manager and director and Coach for a National Team: and to train speed with the players and to get the running rhythm : the matches you can win only and only with running : speed long and short distance : 13 years long work to get the Germany Soccer Players world champions : hard work : German National Team : is not easy to win a match : see you later : there will be that looks like a world Stars Team against the National Teams with Fashion and Musicians and fighters and and and we will try to do matches versus National Teams every month in another Country hope could be you will be there too we will try to win against the National Teams is not easy hope see you reduce your weight and body building to get your weight !

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  2. One of the Coaches you too I will play too as Coach and Player I was youth and Player to strong as Player I hided not to play for big Clubs the Coaches told me they bring me to the biggest clubs in the world I said NO and they did not let me play but is done the story I am 46 and do train I am not from USA the training is good and I do try to train I have a 24 hours day I do educated everybody in the Media hope you like me a soccer did you know I told 1982 to you at the TV you think you are somebody I was 12 I am 5’5” hope you will like they did talk to me as : Rocket : Turbo Fight Mashine : I did run the 100 Meters under 10 seconds but is over never mind : hope you will like the Turbo Fight Mashine I will try to play do not forget I am 46 years old : I can play soccer do not worry about that : I will try to play as player and coach versus the National Teams at first versus US National Team : there will be Coaches I am Majesty : the best and the stongest in the history : Kalle KarlHeinzRummenigge : the biggest PELE and the shortest Diego : and worth Ronaldo maybe : hope see you later: you tube: California Love : Kalle got it there will be that’s looks like world stars : see you later reduce your weight: I do educate in soccer too special running training and I developed a trainings running system for six days Kalle got it FIFA will get too : I developed like fighting systems for the Fighters in Martial Arts : hope we will have fun and we can win the matches versus the National Teams : I know you as soccer player okay see you later : hope you will like me as soccer player I am also an experts in Martial Arts and Soccer Player I was to strong and hided not to play for big clubs hope you will like me as Soccer Player see you later !

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