The age-old debate over who was the better player – Pele or Maradona – still divides football fans around the world. The World Cup-winning Argentine would glide past opposition with the ball seemingly glued to his feet. He’s also one of the game’s most controversial figures thanks to his infamous ‘Hand of God’ goal scored against England and wide-eyed celebration at the 1994 World Cup.
Born in Buenos Aires in 1960, one of eight kids, young Diego was given a football at the age of three, beginning his love for ‘the beautiful game’. His first club was Los Cebollitas, a youth side of Argentinos Juniors – one of the biggest clubs in the country. The sides went on an incredible 136-game unbeaten streak with Maradona in the side.
During his professional career, the midfield maestro won club titles in Argentina, Italy and Spain but it was his impact in the national side, which will be forever remembered. His two goals against England en route to World Cup glory 1986 are still talked about today. One was a moment of individual brilliance, dribbling the ball from his own half before slotting the ball past goalkeeper Peter Shilton. The other was the infamous ‘Hand of God’ goal, which saw the little midfielder deliberately handle the ball into the net – which somehow went unnoticed by the officials.
In total, Maradona played in four World Cups, scoring an impressive 34 goals in 91 international appearances for Argentina. He also holds the records for captaining a side the most at the World Cup finals – leading Argentina out on 16 occasions. His 21 appearances in the finals are bettered only by three others.
He saw out his playing career in his homeland before announcing his retirement in 1997. He was appointed as the Head Coach of the Argentinean national team in 2008 and his team reached the 2010 World Cup quarterfinals but lost 4-0 to Germany. Maradona has since continued his managerial career in the UAE, most recently as the Fujairah manager. The midfielder was also awarded the Ballon d’Or in 1995 for his services to football.
Hublot signed Maradona as an official partner after the footballing genius was spotted wearing two Hublot watches at the 2010 World Cup. Speaking at the announcement he said, “More than a partnership, I feel to be part of the Hublot family. I met authentic and fantastic people who became my friends. I remember my visit last year to the manufacture in Nyon, it was like feeling almost home. The thing that drew me to Hublot was also their charity efforts. I’m very involved in my community, giving kids opportunities that they wouldn’t otherwise get. Sitting down talking to the people at Hublot, everything came back to family, and that’s me. It’s a perfect relationship from that standpoint.”
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