A tribute to Diego Maradona

  • Diego Maradona passed away, aged 60, on 25 November 2020

  • Lionel Messi, Pele and Gianni Infantino hailed the Argentina legend

  • FIFA pays tribute to Diego with videos, quotes, trivia and stats

Gianni hails Diego

“I always said it and I can just repeat it now, more convinced than ever: What Diego has done for football, for making all of us fall in love with this beautiful game, is unique. It is, as he is, simply immense,” said an emotional FIFA President Gianni Infantino upon the passing of Maradona. Read Infantino’s full comments below.

Messi and Pele lead the Maradona homages

Lionel Messi: "It's a very sad day for all Argentinians and for football. He leaves us but he doesn't leave us, because Diego is eternal. I will keep all the beautiful moments I lived through with him, and I want to take this opportunity to send my condolences to all his family and friends. RIP."

Pele: "What sad news. I have lost a great friend and the world has lost a legend. There's still so much to be said, but for now, may God give strength to his relatives. One day I hope we can play football together in the sky."

See what countless other football personalities, including Didier Drogba, Paulo Dybala, Diego Forlan, Roger Milla, Lothar Matthaus, Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo, said about Maradona following his passing below.

The film

The Godfather may have been decorated by the magnificence of Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Sterling Hayden, Diane Keaton and others, but it is best remember for arguably the greatest acting performance of all time: Marlon Brando’s portrayal of Vito Corleone.

Likewise, while Emilio Butragueno, Preben Elkjaer, Enzo Francescoli, Gary Lineker, Michel Platini and Zico dazzled at Mexico 1986, it is best remembered for arguably the greatest World Cup campaign of all time, courtesy of Diego Maradona. Narrated by movie legend Sir Michael Caine, 1986 FIFA World Cup™: The Official Film is monopolised by one mesmerising talent. Watch it below...

Maradona holds the record for suffering the most fouls in a World Cup (53 at Mexico 1986) and the most fouls in one match (23 against Italy at Spain 1982) – unbelievable considering how much stricter officials are these days. Overall, he won 152 free-kicks at the World Cup – Jairzinho won the next-most at 64.

The Goal of the Century

“Maradona on the ball now," commentator Victor Hugo Morales told million of listeners as the Argentina No10 collected possession in the 55th minute of a Mexico 1986 quarter-final against England. "Two closing him down. Maradona rolls his foot over the ball and breaks away down the right, the genius of world football. He goes past a third, looks for Burruchaga. Maradona forever! Genius! Genius! Genius! He’s still going… Gooooal! Sorry, I want to cry! Good God! Long live football! What a goal! A memorable run from Maradona. The greatest solo goal of all time. Cosmic Kite, which planet did you come from?”

Most World Cup appearances as captain

Diego MaradonaArgentina16
Dino ZoffItaly14
Paolo MaldiniItaly14
Kazimierz DeynaPoland13
Uwe SeelerWest Germany12
Daniel PassarellaArgentina12
Lothar MatthausWest Germany/Germany12

The reunion

Maradona was in the midst of an interview about the World Cup when FIFA surprised him with the Trophy he lifted at the Azteca. His reaction was priceless!

Did you know?

  • Diego Maradona is the only man in history to break his own world transfer record. Barcelona paid Boca Juniors £3 million in 1982 to make ‘El Pibe de Oro’ the most expensive footballer of all time, smashing the £1.75 million Juventus paid Vicenza for Paolo Rossi in 1976. Two years later Napoli spent £5 million on Maradona – a record which remained until Ruud Gullit joined AC Milan from PSV for £6 million three years later.

  • After an exceptional performance in 1983, Maradona became the first-ever Barcelona player to receive a standing ovation from the Real Madrid fans at the Bernabeu.

  • When Maradona arrived at Napoli in 1984 they had won only one major title in their 58-year history: the 1961/62 Coppa Italia. In his seven years there, I Partenopei won two Serie A crowns, a Coppa Italia, an Italian Super Cup and the 1988/89 UEFA Cup, in which Maradona inspired a 5-4 aggregate win over a Jurgen Klinsmann-spearheaded Stuttgart in the final.

  • Maradona and Lionel Messi are the only players to have won the adidas Golden Ball at the FIFA U-20 World Cup™ and the World Cup.

  • Maradona is one of only three South Americans to have scored in World Cups 12 years apart. Pele and Lionel Messi are the others.

  • Diego’s two younger brothers were both footballers. Hugo played in the top flights in Italy and Spain, while Raul represented Boca Juniors and Granada.

  • Maradona became the fourth man to go to five World Cups as a player or head coach when he led Argentina at South Africa 2010. He emulated Mario Zagallo, Franz Beckenbauer and Berti Vogts.

Maradona is the only man to register five goals and five assists in one World Cup. He was directly involved in 71 per cent of Argentina’s goals at Mexico 1986 – the second-best ratio for a triumphant team behind David Villa (75 per cent for Spain in 2010). No player in the history of the competition has created more chances than 'El Pelusa' (66).

Other tributes

  • Argentina president Alberto Fernandez declared three days of national mourning.

  • At the urging of FIFA, matches from across the world in the days after Diego’s death held one minute’s silence in his honour before kick-off.

  • Before a rugby union test match between New Zealand and Argentina three days after Maradona’s passing, the All Blacks performed a haka in his honour and laid one of their jerseys, with Maradona 10 on the back, down on the pitch.

  • After scoring in a win over Osasuna, Messi removed his Barcelona shirt to reveal a Newell's Old Boys one – the other club both men represented – and pointed to the sky.

  • Napoli renamed their stadium the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.