¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Diego!
Diego Maradona may be a controversial figure, but there’s not doubt that the Argentine legend is one of the greatest soccer players to ever set foot on the field.
On the eve of his birthday in 1997, “El Pibe de Oro” announced his retirement after over two decades in action. Today, on his 53rd birthday, we celebrate all the grandeur of a man that despite his humble beginnings and constant controversy brought glory to Argentine soccer and changed how the world viewed the sport forever.
At the age of 15, Maradona made his professional debut on the Argentinos Juniors club team. The young star quickly made a name for himself shining on one of Argentina’s best club teams, Boca Juniors, and later as a member of the national team that won the 1986 World Cup.
The midfielder was famous for his ability to create scoring opportunities and execute goals for the national team, “La Albiceleste.” One of his most memorable (and contentious) moments on the field was when he illegally scored with his left hand during the World Cup quarter-final game against England in 1986.
Maradona would later claim he scored with help from “The Hand of God.”
Since his retirement, the soccer star had battled drug addiction and health issues that often make headlines. The controversy, however, has done little to dampen the love for which his native Argentina feels for the soccer star.
Soccer fans voted to make Maradona FIFA’s “Player of the Century” in 2000 -- an honor he reluctantly shared with Brazilian soccer legend Pelé who was a favorite among FIFA officials.
Nevertheless, the Argentine star impressed an entire generation with his skill. To celebrate the legend on his birthday, check out 120 of Diego Maradona’s best goals in the video above.