The debut nutmeg – October 20 1976
Maradona made his professional debut for Argentinos Juniors at the age of just 15, unsurprisingly the youngest player to ever make a debut in the Argentine top-flight. The story goes that he was told by manager Juan Carlos Montes to “go out there and nutmeg someone.” Maradona being Maradona he did exactly that, Juan Cabrera became the first professional player to be nutmegged by Maradona, certainly not the last.
The Bernabeu Ovation – June 26 1983
The Real Madrid crowd is never afraid to show their respect for sublime opponents, even if they’re wearing the Blaugrana of Barcelona. Maradona’s time at Barcelona was short-lived but a superb solo goal (that involved rounding the keeper and putting a defender on the floor) was enough for the Real faithful to get off their feet and applaud.
The Hand of God – June 22 1986
The goal that comes to mind first whenever you think of Maradona. Everyone knows what happened, both in the match and afterwards. Depending on how you view the game you probably see this as either one of the most ingenious, or disgraceful moments in the history of football. Regardless it will never be forgotten.
The Goal of the Century – June 22 1986
This is the goal that should come to mind when one first thinks of Maradona. It’s just a superb piece of individual skill. Maradona was not only head and shoulders above every player in his Argentina team, he was miles ahead of anyone else in the world. The way he skips past the England players is remarkable, it will never, ever get old.
King of the world – June 29 1986
He may not have scored in the final but this was Maradona’s victory, it was his glorious pass that led to the late winner in Argentina’s 3-2 win over West Germany. He was awarded the Golden Ball for his performances in the tournament and only England’s Gary Lineker scored more goals than him.
Diego Maradona holds the World Cup trophy aloft in 1986
Image credit: Getty Images
The Double – May 10 1987
There are hardly any clubs, supporters and players who have a relationship quite like Napoli, their fans and Maradona. Every Napoli fan has a place in their heart for Maradona, not least because of his remarkable performances in the 1986-87 season as he helped the club to win their first league title ever.
A Trio of Wondergoals 1985-1987
Maradona scored 115 goals for Napoli during his time in Italy. These are the three we’ve picked out as the best, starting with:
Humbling the champions – October 20 1985
This is the goal that Maradona says won over the Napoli fans. Verona were the champions but they had no answer for Maradona as Napoli romped to a 5-0 victory. The pick of the goals was this wonderfully nonchalant effort from Maradona, plucking the ball out of the air and effortlessly volleying past a hopeless goalkeeper who had strayed too far off his line.
The free-kick – November 3 1985
Juventus and Michel Platini were a force to be reckoned with in the 1980s, before Milan took over towards the end of the decade. Yet in six matches against Maradona, Platini only emerged victorious once. A few weeks after Verona were sent packing Juventus came to Naples and were also hammered by five goals. Maradona’s ingenious goal from an indirect free-kick, with Napoli players complaining their Juventus counterparts weren’t moving far back enough, was sublime.
The world champion struts his stuff – September 14 1986
In the first league game of the season after winning the World Cup Maradona scored a goal to rival his one against England. The change of pace and close control is pure Maradona. It kick-started the Scudetto charge of that season, with Maradona leading Napoli to the promised land.
Maradona’s Tears – July 6 1990
Four years after winning the World Cup, Maradona and Argentina were back again but this time it wasn’t to be, as a soft penalty scored by Andreas Brehme broke Argentina’s hearts. It is the first time ever that two teams have met each other in back-to-back World Cup finals. Whilst it was a defeat for Argentina the performances by Maradona were once again of the highest level. He was the only Argentina outfielder to be named to the team of the tournament and his tears at the full-time whistle (after an initial bout of rage) was one of the most human moments in his career
The Slide – October 10 2009
In late 2009, as manager of the Argentine national team, Maradona and his team welcomed Peru to Buenos Aires. Argentina were struggling, they were in serious danger of missing the 2010 World Cup. Maradona, always hard to guess, left Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero on the bench and instead decided to give Gonzalo Higuain his first cap. It looked to be a master-stroke when the young Higuain opened the scoring just after half-time. However in the last minute Hernan Rengifo delivered a hammer-blow to Argentina with a late equaliser. Maradona’s team weren’t done yet though, in the 93rd minute Martin Palermo, called back into the fold by Maradona after a ten-year absence scored a dramatic winner. It led to a truly glorious moment with Maradona sliding down the touchline to celebrate.