By Sean Goff | football
The news that Diego Maradona (51) has been sacked by UAE club Al Wasl will not have shocked anyone that has watched his decline since his heyday.
One of the greatest players to have ever graced the beautiful game Maradona has found life increasingly difficult away from the hero worship of his playing career.
Drug scandals, weight problems and all-round getting into mischief have followed El Pibe de Oro’s (the Golden Boy) around like a bad smell.
But on the field no-one was his equal.
Maradona was immortalised for the infamous ‘Hand of God’ incident at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico against England.
‘El Diego’ rose to a mis-hit clearance with Peter Shilton six minutes into the second half and deftly punched the ball past the English goalkeeper into the net.
A stunned Shilton and an apoplectic Peter Reid protested in vain as the goal was allowed to stand.
Maradona later explained that the goal came with “un poco con la cabeza de Maradona y otro poco con la mano de Dios” – a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God.
But what followed would go down in World Cup and footballing history as one of, if not THE, greatest goals of all-time and was voted Goal of the Century in 2002 by FIFA.com voters.
Picking up the ball in his own half with his back to England’s goal, Diego ran around, through and past Steve Hodge, Peter Beardsley, Peter Reid, Terry Butcher, Terry Fenwick before sliding the ball under Peter Shilton as Argentina went on to win 2-1.
The inspirational captain scored again in the 2-1 semi-final win over Belgium and Argentina went on to Jules Rimet Trophy glory with a 3-1 win over Germany.
Almost 25 years later, his two-year tenure as manager of the national side ended – despite protests from ever-adoring fans – after an erratic 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign and eventual quarter-final 4-0 loss to Germany.
Where Maradona goes from here is anyone’s guess but fading quietly into the background is just not in Diego’s DNA.