Top 10 Reasons Why Diego Armando Maradona Is the Greatest

Tags: #Maradona ,   #Soccer ,   #Football ,   #Argentina ,   #WorldCup

Michael Wendom

Michael Wendom

Last updated:  2021-03-11 15:45:18

Diego Armando Maradona left us in 2020, but his enormous legacy will live forever. Moreover, there's probably no sane person that'll say that he's not among the best soccer players ever. However, we're taking it one step further by listing the top 10 reasons why Diego Armando Maradona has to be considered the greatest. See if we've managed to convince you!

10. Live Is Life

Only Maradona could prepare like this for such an important game

To be the best at anything, you have to love it, and Maradona adored soccer. There's no better way to see that than by watching his legendary warm-up sequence from 1989. As everyone else was dead-serious preparing for the UEFA Cup semifinals, Diego was smiling and showing his skills to the rhythm of "Live is Life."

While the fans were impressed, his rivals from Bayern Munich later admitted that they couldn't believe what he was doing. Even though he was just having fun, that performance intimidated Germans! Well, when you see the best player in the world so relaxed and ready to play, you have to be worried. No wonder that his Napoli won the tie and moved to the finals!

9. World Cup 1994

Maradona was still among the best, proven by his performance against Greece

Even today, the 1994 FIFA World Cup is the biggest sports tragedy in the history of Argentina. With Maradona making a comeback, Argentina quickly turned into one of the favorites! Despite being close to 34, Diego was a major force, playing brilliantly against future European champions Greece and Nigeria. Maybe the best testimony of his performance was that he was fouled more than anyone in his first two games.

Unfortunately, what followed was a disaster, as Diego tested positive and was immediately banned. However, he wasn't doped but used a version of a weight loss drug that unfortunately had a forbidden substance. Many still believe that FIFA was very harsh toward him, and even they admitted it! After the World Cup, FIFA decided not to punish Maradona, as they concluded that what he was using wasn't enhancing his performance. After his early exit, Argentina quickly crashed out of the competition, which served as another proof that he was the heart of the team. 

8. Goal of the Century

You won't make a mistake if you call it the best goal ever

If Maradona did nothing in his career other than scoring this stunning goal against England in 1986, he would still be a legend. However, for such a player, this was only a moment of brilliance! Doing what he did that day in the heat of Azteca stadium after the "Hand of God" was an essence of Diego's majesty.

When you watch him passing by tons of English players (including Terry Butcher), it feels so simple and elegant. No matter how many times you see this Goal of the Century, you'll always want to do it again. There never was such a demonstration of power at the biggest tournament in the world!

7. Player of the Century

People have spoken - Maradona is the best

At the end of 2000, FIFA decided to select the best player of the 20th century, but the results were highly controversial. While Pele won a huge majority of the so-called grand jury, fans chose Maradona. To make a compromise, FIFA decided that they're both players of the century. Many thought that the organization couldn't let Diego win, as he never had kind words for it.

Of course, some claimed that Maradona won the voting because he was much younger than Pele, so many could have watched him, unlike his rival. However, that theory proved wrong, based on the fact that Eusebio, who also played in the sixties, was ranked third. So there's no doubt, Maradona is a people's champion, and that should matter more than what FIFA suits say.

6. Other Greats Say That He Is the Greatest

So many legends like Rummenigge have no doubt that Maradona was the best

Maradona is probably the only soccer player loved by superstars from all eras. While they're all giving him praise, these are never the familiar words we use when describing a fantastic athlete. Sometimes, they are humbled to be mentioned in the sentence with him, like Lionel Messi. Even though he's considered one of the greatest, Leo said that he won't ever be on the same level.

Shivers may run down your spine when you read all the praise "El Pibe" received, even from his greatest rivals. One of them, Dutch phenomenon Ruud Gullit once said, "The best player there has ever been, better than Pele. I watched him closely in Italy every week, and he was at a different level to everyone else." What Gullit said is the essence, as Maradona was the best because he was so unique.

5. His Fan Base Is Unbelievable

It's impossible to explain what Maradona meant to so many people

Once their career ends, everything changes, even for top athletes. Most of the fans move somewhere else, and even the media coverage becomes less intense. That's all true for almost everyone but Maradona. Until his last days, he was not only a megastar in Argentina but everywhere else. Everybody always wanted a piece of him, like he's still passing and scoring.

Plus, what other player has a church dedicated to him? Iglesia Maradoniana, or Maradona's Church, was founded in 1998 and now has hundreds of thousands of followers. If the movement was ever started as a joke, it's now a sign of the greatest respect.

4. He Gave Everything to His National Team

Every goal Maradona ever scored for Argentina

When people argue that Maradona is better than Messi, they talk about his plays for Argentina. For Diego, there was nothing more special than making his compatriots happy and presenting the nation in the best possible light. Playing in four World Cups, he was always the one giving it all.

Even on rare occasions when he didn't do well, he was trying his hardest. Moreover, you could always see the pure joy on his face after every goal and tears following a loss. To have so much money and fame and still be so passionate is something truly divine. 

3. Real Leader

Maradona made everyone play better

A real leader doesn't have to be the best player on the field, even though Maradona was. Still, his biggest quality was that he made everyone around him play better. Diego is the epitome of the classic number 10, a player who commands his team and knows what to do at any moment.

With Maradona, that never changed, nor did he ever saw it as a burden. Still, being in total control never affected his ego. Diego often chose to pass the ball instead of trying to score, and his assists were a thing of beauty. 

2. Making Napoli Great

Before and after Maradona, no other team from southern Italy won the title

When Maradona came to the Italian side Napoli in 1984, many thought that he was crazy. Really, why would the best in the world go to such a small club and spend his best years there? The thing is, before and after Maradona, Napoli never won a title. With him, they were twice champions, winning as many cups and even the UEFA Cup!

What was even more impressive is that Maradona was the only true superstar on the team! If you check Napoli's roster, you'll spot a few very good players, with the rest being average and largely forgotten. Everyone knew it then like we know now - no one will ever dominate with such a weak team. No wonder that people associate him with Naples even more than with "Neapolitan Novels."

1. Winning the World Cup in 1986

1986 was all about Diego Maradona

Maradona won a single World Cup, but the way he did it goes against every logic. That's because soccer is a team game, where one player, no matter how good, won't win you the championship. However, what Diego did in Mexico in 1986 was pure brilliance, demonstrating such talent and passion that drove defenses and goalies insane!

Playing in all seven games, Diego had a mind-blowing five goals and five assists, making him the only player to do it. Maradona destroyed the opposition, including England, Belgium and Germany with his superior pace and dribbling skills and made so much space for his teammates. As a result, they could score so many easy goals. Even in the final, he was the one who made a key move with a brilliant assist for a title-winning goal! When will someone turn his story into a Oscar-worthy movie?

Diego Armando Maradona was a combination of a perfectly skilled player who was also a terrific leader. But what makes him the best was his love for the game and the unique way he played. Even in his prime, he was such an anomaly, and today what he did looks even more incredible.

What's your favorite Maradona performance? How would your top 10 or top 5 soccer players look? Feel free to express in the comments below!

Photo: YouTube screenshot

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