Top 10 Reasons Why Maradona Is the Greatest Football Player Ever

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

Michael Wendom

Michael Wendom

Last updated:  2023-05-15 06:00:05

Diego Armando Maradona left us in 2020, but his enormous legacy will live forever. Moreover, no sane person will say he's not among the best association football players ever. However, we're taking it one step further by listing the top ten reasons Diego Armando Maradona is the brightest star the sport has ever had.

10. Live Is Life

Only Maradona could prepare like this for such an important game

To be the best at anything, you must love it, and Maradona adored football. There's no better way to see that than 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 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 his Napoli side 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 became one of the favorites! Despite being close to 34, Diego was a major force, playing brilliantly against future European champions Greece and Nigeria. The best testimony of his performance was that he was fouled more frequently than anyone in the tournament.

Unfortunately, a disaster followed, 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 didn't punish Maradona, concluding that what he was using wasn't enhancing his performance. After his early exit, Argentina quickly crashed out of the competition, proving that he was the team's heart. 

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, this was only a moment of brilliance for such a player! Doing what he did that day in the heat of Azteca stadium after the "Hand of God" was an essence of Diego's majesty.

Watching him pass by tons of English players (including Terry Butcher) feels so simple and elegant. No matter how often 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 Pelé won a vast majority of the so-called grand jury, fans chose Maradona. To make a compromise, FIFA decided they were both players of the century. Many thought the organization couldn't let Diego win, as he never had kind words for it.

Of course, some believe that Maradona won the voting because he was much younger than Pelé and, therefore, is better remembered. However, that theory was proved wrong because Eusebio, who also played in the sixties, was ranked third. So there's no doubt Maradona is a people's champion, which 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 praising him, they do it uniquely. 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 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 Pelé. 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 fans move elsewhere, and even the media coverage becomes less intense. That's all true for almost everyone but Maradona. Until his last days, he was a megastar in Argentina and 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 started as one of the strangest religious organizations, it's now a sign of tremendous 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 giving it all.

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

3. Real Leader

Maradona made everyone play better

A natural 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, unlike Messi. Still, 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 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, Napoli never won a title before and after Maradona. With him, they were twice champions, collecting as many cups and even the UEFA Cup! This is also still the only European trophy for the team!

Even more impressive was that Maradona was the only true superstar on the team! If you check Napoli's roster, you'll spot a few solid 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.

1. Winning the World Cup in 1986

1986 was all about Diego Maradona

Maradona won a World Cup, but the way he did it goes against every logic. That's because football 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 (in the controversial game), Belgium, and Germany. His superior pace and dribbling skills made so much space for his teammates. As a result, they could score 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! Like Napoli, this Argentina team was rather average, with only a few truly outstanding players. Yet, unlike much stronger Argentina in 2022, they dominated every game, playing against many top-rated teams!

Diego Armando Maradona was a combination of a perfectly skilled player and a terrific leader. But what made 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 ten list of football players look? Feel free to express yourself in the comments below!

Cover photo: YouTube screenshot



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Diegz Says:

By Far the greatest Football Player ever in history.
Diego Armando Maradona D10S

December 16 at 05:57:16 PM

Triyo Says:

I wish FIFA would sell these old FIFA World Cup tournament games, and I don't understand why they don't do that.

September 30 at 08:37:49 AM

Michael Wendom Says:

You can watch them now on FIFA website, which is incredible! The picture quality is excellent, I just wish it also featured commentary.

December 23 at 10:48:49 AM

Neville Says:

I still believe Argentina could do great things in 1994 if it wasn't for FIFA. I'll never get over that.

August 08 at 11:29:20 AM

Eddie Says:

I still think it was because of the camera angle after the goal celebration where his eyes looked crazy and he looked high as a kite that got him into trouble. That's how he got banned.

Still the greatest ever in my book.

August 25 at 11:57:44 AM

Vlad Says:

I just read Maradona's book about that 1986 tournament, it's afascinating piece.

June 21 at 08:44:08 AM

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