So … Diego Armando Maradona, the greatest footballer the planet has ever seen, has apparently agreed a two-year deal to manage Dubai football club Al Wasl.
To call his career a rollercoaster ride is the understatement of the year. From announcing himself to the world as a prodigious talent at the FIFA World Youth Championships in 1979, to scoring against England with his hand (cheat) and his foot (genius), going crazy in the US after scoring, managing Argentina with mixed success and all points inbetween, there is no denying he is one of the greatest characters in sporting history.
Here are the greatest and craziest moments from a guy who should fit right in here…
Hello world 1979: In the FIFA World Youth Championships, el Diego announced himself to world football in Japan as Argentina claimed the trophy with 20 goals scored and only two conceded. Maradona was player of the tournament and scored in the final.
Hand of God 1986: The most infamous goal in World Cup history occurred during the quarter final of the 1986 World Cup in Mexico between Argentina and England. With the score locked at 0-0 six minutes into the second half, Maradona chased a miss-hit clearance by England midfielder Steve Hodge, jumped above goalkeeper Peter Shilton before flicking it past the veteran with the outside of his left fist. Maradona described it as "a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God."
‘Best goal of all-time’ 1986: In the very same game, Maradona's second goal was later voted by FIFA as the greatest goal in the history of the World Cup. He received the ball in his own half, swivelled around, and with 11 touches ran more than half the length of the field, dribbling past Peter Beardsley, Steve Hodge, Peter Reid, Terry Butcher, Terry Fenwick and goalkeeper Peter Shilton.
Lifting the World Cup 1986: Maradona captained Argentina to a 3-2 victory against West Germany in the 1986 World Cup final in Mexico. Maradona lifted the World Cup trophy in front of 115,000 spectators at the Azteca Stadium, ensuring he would be remembered as one of the greatest names in football history.
A Napoli legend 1987: Maradona led Napoli to their first-ever Scudetto, scoring 10 goals and proving instrumental in famous wins over Milan and champions Juventus. He then helped the Partenopei win the Coppa Italia, cementing his place as a God in the eyes of the people of Naples. Maradona would lead Napoli to their only other title three years later.
Tears of Maradona 1990: In the final of the 1990 World Cup against West Germany, Argentina had two players sent off and lost the game on a non-existent penalty five minutes from time, which Andreas Brehme converted. Maradona burst into tears after the final whistle with the iconic picture of his runners-up medal around his neck.
Hand with the gun 1994: Just a few months prior to the 1994 World Cup in the United States, Maradona was struggling for form and fitness and was being hounded by the press. The Argentine responded to this invasion of privacy by firing a compressed air-rifle at reporters outside his home in Moreno. Some of the reporters struck by the pellets were slightly injured.
World Cup goal celebration 1994: In the opening game of the 1994 World Cup in the US, Maradona followed his top-corner curler in the 4-0 win against Greece with his most infamous celebration. He charged to the pitch-side camera, screaming and shouting, his face manic and his pupils dilated.
FIFA ceremony walk-out 2000: Maradona walked out on a FIFA ceremony honoring him as the best player of the 20th century after finding out he has to share the award with Pele. He said: “If [Pele] thinks he’s the best player of the century, that’s his problem.”
The dive of Maradona 2010: Argentina went into their penultimate 2010 World Cup qualifier against Peru in Buenos Aires in desperate need of a win. Leading 1-0 in the pouring rain, the rock-bottom Peruvians snatched an 89th minute equaliser through Hernan Rengifo. But deep into injury time, Martin Palermo scored to leave Argentina’s destiny in their own hands ahead of a trip Uruguay. This dramatic finale sent Maradona wild, and he ran up the touchline to perform a theatrical dive, sliding across the waterlogged pitch.