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Maradona, Diego 1960- (Diego Armando Maradona)

Maradona, Diego 1960- (Diego Armando Maradona)

PERSONAL:

Born October 30, 1960, in Villa Fiorito (some sources say Lanus), Argentina; son of Diego (a factory worker) and Dalma Franco (a homemaker) Maradona; married Claudia Villafane, 1989; children: two daughters.

CAREER:

Soccer player and writer. Professional soccer player, retired, 1997; previously played with Barcelona, 1982-84, with Italian Soccer Club, Naples, Italy, 1984-1991; with Spanish Soccer Club FC Sevilla, 1992-93; with Newell's Old Boys (Argentine League), 1993-94; and Boca Juniors, 1995-96; also coach in Argentina and hosted television show.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Golden Ball for the Best Player of the Year, A.F.A. Journalist Accredited Center, 1979; Silver Olimpia for the Best Argentinian Player and Gold Limpia for the Best Argentinian Player, both Journalist Sports Circle, both 1979; Golden Ball for the Best Player of the Year, A.F.A. Journalist Accredited Center, 1980; Silver Olimpia for the Best Argentinian Player and Gold Olimpia for the Best Argentinian Player, both Journalist Sports Circle, both 1980; Silver Olimpia for the Best Argentinian Player, Journalist Sports Circle, 1981; Golden Ball for the Best Player of the Year, A.F.A. Journalist Accredited Center, 1981; Golden Ball for the Best Player of Mexico 1986 World Cup of the F.I.F.A., 1986; Golden Ball for the Best Player of Europe, for the France Football magazine, 1986; Silver Olimpia for the Best Argentinian Player and Gold Olimpia for the Best Argentinian Player, both Journalist Sports Circle, both 1986; Platinum Olimpia for the Best Argentinian Sporty of the XX Century, Journalist Sports Circle, 1999; also voted to the world soccer team of the twentieth century; named to the South American team of the century.

WRITINGS:

Yo Soy El Diego (—de La Gente), (autobiography; title means "I Am the People's Diego"), as told to Daniel Arcucci and Ernesto Cherquis Bialo, Planeta (Buenos Aires, Argentina), 2000, translation by Marcela Mora y Araujo published as Maradona: The Autobiography of Soccer's Greatest and Most Controversial Star, Skyhorse Publishing (New York, NY), 2007.

Mi Vida En Fotos: El Homenaje (title means "My Life in Photos"), Grupo Editorial Planeta (Buenos Aires, Argentina), 2001.

SIDELIGHTS:

Diego Maradona came from the slums of Buenos Aires, Argentina, to become an international soccer star whose exploits on the soccer field earned him the nickname "El pibe de oro," or "the golden boy." Maradona began his professional career in Argentina in 1973 but would go on to play for teams in Italy and Spain in a career that would span three decades. "Maradona, a prolific and flamboyant goal scorer, quickly emerged as a favorite of the Argentine fans," wrote a contributor to the Dictionary of Hispanic Biography. "Celebrities such as Evita Peron turned out to see Maradona in his first year with Argentinos. Even at age thirteen, his prodigious ability and colorful manner put Maradona in the spotlight."

Maradona would go on to become one of the highest-paid international soccer stars, known for his creativity and excitement on the field. In a profile of Maradona on Expertfootball.com, a contributor described his skills, noting that Maradona was "a complete master of the ball who uses his talent and flair at incredible speed." Unfortunately, Maradona became almost equally as well known for his outlandish behavior and antics off the field. Maradona eventually left the game under a cloud of disgrace because of drug use and later developed health problems partially due to his becoming extremely overweight. Nevertheless, for soccer fans around the world, and especially those in Argentina, Maradona has remained a soccer god.

Maradona: The Autobiography of Soccer's Greatest and Most Controversial Star is Maradona's autobiography as told to Daniel Arcucci and Ernesto Cherquis. First published in South America in 2000 as Yo Soy El Diego (—de La Gente), the English translation by Marcela Mora y Araujo was published in 2007. In his autobiography, Maradona gives readers a firsthand account of his life as a boy, a soccer superstar, his drug addiction, and his several comebacks over the years.

For example, the author discusses his famous "hand of God" goal in the 1986 World Cup, admitting that he had committed a rule infraction. A contributor to Contemporary Hispanic Biography described the events of that World Cup this way: "Maradona's enshrinement as a national hero in Argentina came when he competed for its national team in the 1986 World Cup. In a quarterfinals match between Argentina and England, Maradona scored a goal that went into the net after his fist touched it—in prohibition of one of soccer's most steadfast rules. The judges failed to see it, however, and Maradona then scored the winning goal of the game by taking the ball single-handedly down fifty-five yards of the field, and faking out the English goaltender. Thus Argentina ousted England from the World Cup, and went on to beat West Germany in the finals." The contributor went on to note: "At the time, Maradona claimed that it was not his fist but rather ‘the hand of God’ that had made the first goal."

While the goal was one of the biggest controversies in soccer, Maradona would go on to be involved in numerous other controversies, especially off the field. In 1991 he was charged with possession of cocaine in Italy, where he was playing for a professional team. Suspended for fifteen months, he returned to Buenos Aires only to be arrested in a drug raid. Although Maradona returned to professional soccer, his behavior became increasingly erratic, including a February 1994 incident in which he injured five reporters when he fired a pellet gun at them. Maradona recounts this incident and many others in his autobiography. He also maintains his image of being outspoken and controversial.

In a review of Maradona in Publishers Weekly, a contributor noted that the author's "pungent mode of expression and outspoken politics … have undeniable charm." Keir Graff, writing in Booklist, commented that it is Maradona's "mercurial personality that makes … [the book] such involving reading."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Contemporary Hispanic Biography, Volume 1, Gale (Detroit, MI), 2002.

Dictionary of Hispanic Biography, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1996.

Encyclopedia of World Biography Supplement, Volume 20, Gale (Detroit, MI), 2000.

Maradona, Diego, Maradona: The Autobiography of Soccer's Greatest and Most Controversial Star, as told to Daniel Arcucci and Ernesto Cherquis Bialo, translated by Marcela Mora y Araujo Skyhorse Publishing (New York, NY), 2007.

Newsmakers 1991, Issue Cumulation, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1991.

PERIODICALS

Booklist, May 15, 2007, Keir Graff, review of Maradona, p. 14.

Book World, June 17, 2007, Andrew Ervin, review of Maradona, p. 9.

Publishers Weekly, April 23, 2007, review of Maradona, p. 39.

Times Literary Supplement, February 9, 2001, review of Yo Soy El Diego (—de La Gente), p. 32.

ONLINE

About.com: World Soccer,http://worldsoccer.about.com/ (February 5, 2008), Alan Hylands, profile of author.

BBC News,http://news.bbc.co.uk/ (August 16, 2005), "Maradona Tackles Pele on TV Show."

Diego Maradona Home Page,http://www.diegomaradona.com/ (February 5, 2008).

Expertfootball.com,http://expertfootball.com/ (February 5, 2008), profile of author.

Vivadiego.com,http://vivadiego.com/ (February 5, 2008), profile of author.

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