A man in words

They said it: Maradona

  • ​What did a 12-year-old Maradona dream of?
  • He discusses drugs and trying to get in touch with Lionel Messi
  • ‘I offer them a thousand apologies, but I’d do it again a thousand times'

“Maradona wrote poetry on football pitches,” said Sir Bobby Robson of the man who single-handedly forced his England squad to pack their suitcases at the 1986 FIFA World Cup Mexico™. Yet ‘El Diego’ also wrote himself into headlines with his words.

Sometimes blunt, sometimes irascible, but never dull, Maradona has made many an unforgettable appearance in front of the microphones, sometimes leaving his audience open-mouthed. FIFA.com rounds up a selection of his finest.

“My first dream is to play in the World Cup, and my second is to win it.”
A 12-year-old Maradona, appearing on camera for the first time

“Yes, I am a ‘blackhead’ and proud of it. I'll never forget where I came from.”
Maradona on his roots, employing a derogatory term (cabecita negra) used in Argentina to refer to people from poor backgrounds

“You are never in control with drugs – they control you. Anyone who says, ‘I can handle them’ is either lying or deluding themselves.”
Maradona on his drug addiction

“I’ve packed 70 years into my 40. I’ve seen it all. I went from a dirt track in Villa Fiorito to the top of the world. When I got there, I had to figure out for myself what to do. Nobody ever told me what it would be like or how to handle it.”
Maradona at 40

“I was and always will be happy with my 'Hand of God' goal against the English. I offer them a thousand apologies – that’s the truth – but I’d do it again a thousand times.”

“I tried to find happiness playing football, and through it I tried to bring happiness to others. Football is the most beautiful game in the world. Yes, I made mistakes and I paid the price, but you can never tarnish football.”

“I haven’t seen him lately. I tried to call him but it’s easier talking to [Barack] Obama than Leo. I’ve heard he's having a good pre-season and that’s great to know.”
Maradona on Messi, in the build-up to the South Africa 2010 qualifier against Brazil

“The worst has already happened. I was at the bottom of the sea and my daughters pulled me out. I can get up every day now, which is an achievement when you consider that I used to go three whole days either awake or asleep. Seeing my grandson is like touching the sky. Everything else pales in comparison.”
Maradona to FIFA.com

“Winning the World Cup is the most beautiful thing there is. I tell the players that 30 days of sacrifice just to kiss that Trophy is nothing in a man’s life. It’s like touching the sky.”

“I’m not going to die over that – I’ll sleep just as well if Butcher doesn’t shake my hand. I would remind everyone that England beat Germany in a Final with a goal that didn’t go over the line. We all saw it and no-one said anything. But the thing is there weren’t any TV replays then. Butcher is in no position to judge me.”
Maradona responds to criticism from Terry Butcher over the 'Hand of God' goal. The former England defender, then managing Scotland, said he'd refuse to shake Maradona's hand when he guided Argentina at Hampden Park

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