The Story Of...Diego Maradona
On February 27, 1977, Diego Maradona made his international debut for Argentina, coming on as a sub in a friendly against Hungary. He was just 16 years old, had made his professional debut only three months earlier but already he was anointed his country's football Moses, tasked with delivering the first World Cup for football-mad Argentina.
He did that, of course, in a memorable World Cup in 1986 that was marked as much by his genius as it was - in English eyes particularly - by his cheating: the 'hand of God' remains one of the most controversial moments in football history.
The years that followed were his greatest - he delivered two league titles to Napoli, who'd never won one before and turned Maradona into a god for it. These years were also his undoing, for no man can be made a deity without suffering the consequences of it. In Maradona's case, it was a drug-fuelled, infantile soap opera marked by the gradual dissipation of his remarkable talent: he shot at journalists, got involved in messy paternity suits, didn’t pay his taxes, became addicted to cocaine and, in 1994, was sent home from the world cup for failing a drug test. And while Argentina has grown weary of Maradonamania, he is still the nation’s best-loved son, as much for the manner in which he’s lived his life as for the artistry of his genius.