Tuesday, July 6, 2010

"a little with the head of Maradona..."

Graeme Neil Reid,Illustration

If you where to think of someone who summed up the passion and excitement of the Fifa World Cup (depending on your age) the exceptional abilities of two players, the Brazilian Pele and the Argentine Diego Maradona, would be high on your list. Although I've seen and read all about Pele he played in his last World Cup (1970) before I was even born but Diego Armando Maradona strode into the 1982 World Cup and has hung around ever since.

The 1986 World Cup in Mexico was when I (and everyone else) really sat up and noticed him. Nobody will forget the two goals he scored against England, the first 'the hand of God' goal and the second probably one of the best goals ever scored. Argentina won that World Cup and Maradona's fame and connection with the competition was forever set. He played in both the 1990 and 94 World Cups but was sent home early from the latter having failed a drugs test.

No matter what you make of the man, his background, the drug problems and various scandals that surround him there is no denying that he was a fantastic and very talented player. He returned to the 2010 South African World Cup as Head Coach of the Argentine team and through the early stages the team played with amazing passion and a display of skill, but they played Germany in the quarter finals and where thoroughly beaten. The Germans had the measure of Diego's team and as efficient as always hammered home four goals.

Graeme Neil Reid,IllustrationWhatever happens next for Diego Maradona there will always be a little bit of that magic from 1986 in my mind and apart from the number ten on his shirt there will be the number 84 on the back of the Panini World Cup sticker book sticker that we all collected.

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