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The highs and lows of Diego Maradona

Diego Maradona’s career has seen its ups and downs throughout the years – from leading Argentina to a World Cup victory in 1986 to being banned from playing in the international tournament.

After coming through the youth ranks at Argentinos Juniors, Maradona made his professional debut for the club on October 20, 1976, a full 10 days before his 16th birthday. He wore the No. 16 shirt and a rather large haircut.

Just four months later, he made his full debut for the Argentina national team in a game against Hungary. 

He was left out of the 1978 World Cup squad that won the tournament on home soil but participated in the 1979 World Youth Championship and was a star of the side that won the tournament.

That same summer, he bagged his first international goal for the Albiceleste in a 3-1 win over Scotland at Hampden Park.

After a Metropolitano-winning campaign with Boca Juniors in 1981, Maradona was a key player in Argentina’s World Cup title defence in 1982. He played in all five of the Albieleste’s matches but was shown a red card for violent conduct in a loss to fierce rivals Brazil in the second round.

Shortly after the tournament, his status and reputation as one of the best players in the world was enhanced by a world-record transfer to Barcelona.

He dazzled only fleetingly in his two seasons with Barca, but he joined a very short list of players to be applauded off the field by rival fans in a Clasico.

Maradona’s Barcelona career concluded when he was at the centre of a massive brawl following the 1984 Copa del Rey final against Athletic Club.

Just look at how visciously he is fighting in the video above and try to imagine a modern player getting away with it!

It was deemed that the Argentinian was exacting revenge on Andoni “The Butcher of Bilbao” Goikoetxea for a nasty challenge earlier in the season. Maradona had to apologise for the incident to the King of Spain, who was in attendance at the Bernabeu that day.

In the summer of 1984, 75,000 Napoli fans filled the Stadio San Paolo to witness the presentation of their new saviour, who was brought in for another world-record fee.

Maradona arguably reached the peak of his career with the Partenopei, leading them to their first Scudetto in 1987 and another in 1990.

In August 2000, Napoli retired his No. 10 jersey. On his returns to the city—which have been sporadic because of tax issues that will be outlined later—he is still mobbed at the airport. -TELEGRAPH

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