Our Biography of Diego Maradona tells you Facts about his Childhood Story, Early Life, Family, Parents, Girlfriends & Wives, Personal Life and Lifestyle.
In clear terms, we present you with Late Diego Maradona’s life story, from his early days, to when he became famous. Without further adieu, let us begin.
Diego Maradona Childhood Story – Early Life and Family Background:
For Biography Starters, he was nicknamed ‘Cosmic Kite’. Diego Armando Maradona was born on October 30, 1960, in Villa Fiorito, a province of Buenos Aires, Argentina to parents, Don Diego (Father) and Dalma Salvadora Franco (Mother).
He was born as the fifth out of eight children to a Roman Catholic family. Maradona’s first name has its origins in Greek and Hebrew.
It means either a supplanter (to take the place of another) or a teacher. His middle name is Armando – it means “man in the army.”
Maradona grew up in his impoverished but close-knit household neighbourhood of Villa Fiorito. His family was among the poorest in town being that they have larger numbers.
Diego’s father Don Diego was a bricklayer and factory worker, who struggled to provide for three heavy-duty boys, five girls, and his stay-at-home house wife, Dalma.
Poverty however wasn’t a deterrent to success. Maradona first contact with soccer came when he was given his first soccer ball gift by his cousin, Beto Zarate.
This happened on his third birthday. Young Diego slept with the ball inside his shirt for nearly 6 months to avoid it being stolen.
This ball was sometimes seized by his mother who wanted him to concentrate on studies in other to be a professional accountant.
It didn’t much time before she finally realized football was his calling.
He took a liking to football at a relatively young age.
By the age of nine, he had learned to play soccer. His first contact with a full football play came when he was told to join his village team named “Little Onion”.
While he was with the Little Onions, he led his team to winning 140 straight games.
Excellent dribbling action, powerful assists, accurate passes and impressive footwork made Diego Maradona rise up to the ranks within a short period during his childhood.
His skills were appreciated by the audience who were amazed at seeing this small kid run past many taller kids with utmost ease.
It didn’t take long before a football news outlet published an article which said; “There was a kid with the attitude and talent of a star”, although they mispelled his name “Caradona”.
Diego Maradona Family Life:
FATHER: Diego Sr. was born in Esquina, Corrientes and for years earned a living transporting passengers by boat which he rode on the Argentine waters.
Many have regarded him as the man who forged Diego’s dreams. He made great financial sacrifices at the start of his son’s career.
He worked endless hours in a factory to see his son through. He knew his son’s importance to Argentine football was crucial. This was why He and his wife never missed any of the son’s game.
“The person who most wanted him to triumph was me. I shined his boots and I thought that he could overtake Pele or if he was better. As time went on Pele left my mind,” he said.
The father was also present on the most important day of Maradona’s life, when he converted both goals in a 2-1 victory over England in the World Cup quarter-finals in 1986.
“Nobody saw the goal with his hand, not even I. It was such a little handball that when they replayed it over and over it seems he pulled out his hand more.”
He also had to suffer through his son’s problems with addiction and health troubles, but always maintained that Diego was “an excellent, special son”.
“He gives me an unbreakable pride, because a kid that came out of the mud there, for the whole world to remember him, is priceless.” He was a close friend to everyone including Lionel Messi.
Don Diego, the father of football legend Diego Maradona, has passed away after a month of being hospitalized.
Reports indicated that he battled against respiratory and heart problems. The figure was 87 years old when he died.
He was married to Dalma Salvadora Franco, and had eight children namely; Ana, Rita (Kitti), Elsa (Lili), María Rosa (Mary), Raúl (Lalo), Hugo (Turco) and Claudia (Cali), as well of course Diego Armando, “Pelusa”.
Truth be told; no other individual or event has had a greater effect than Dalma Salvadora Franco, better known as ‘Dona Tota’, on the career and life of her son.
This reverence is a fitting tribute for the woman who more than anybody else fought to keep her son on the right path, even though at times it seemed an impossible task.
It is difficult to overstate the impact of ‘El Diego’s’ mother on making him the man he is today.
Although in the past 35 years, Maradona himself has often tried to explain the sacrifices and efforts made by his mother to protect him and his five siblings in the peripheral Buenos Aires shanty town of Villa Fiorito. Here is one of his heartfelt words for his mother.
“At 13 years old I realised that my mother had never suffered a stomach ache,” Diego would begin, recalling one of his favoured anecdotes about his mother’s protective instincts.
“She never had a stomach ache, she just wanted us to eat. Every time the food would come out, she would say ‘my stomach hurts’.
What a lie! It was because there was not enough to go around. That is why I love my old lady so much.”
His mother was there for him at every stage of his career. She would leave the rest of her children to stay with Diego.
While staying with him, she fought him severally as regards controlling his drug addict lifestyle to a 0 minimum.
She was the reason why Maradona didn’t retire early due to drugs. Maradona dealt with his smoking habit while with her. He could only manage vapour e-cigarette.
Maradona loved his mother so much that he could kiss her even in the glaring eyes of the public in a bid to feel her motherly love. This, many people weren’t comfortable about.
He was with her even to her dying bed. Maradona’s mother in her prime spent countless number of times visiting hospitals due to kidney issues.
The Argentine legend’s mother passed away on Saturday 19th November, 2011, days after being taken into hospital for kidney failure.
Raul Maradona: He is the immediate younger brother of Maradona. He played in Argentina for Boca Juniors, in Spain for Granada, and in Peru for Deportivo Municipal; he also played in Japan, Canada and Venezuela.
Hugo Hernán Maradona: Another younger brother born on the 9th of May 1969. He is also known as El Turco. He is the one with a striking resemblance with his elder brother Diego.
He was once is an Argentine Association football coach and former player. He played as a midfielder for clubs in South America, Europe, Japan, and Canada, and was a member of the Argentina U-16 national team.
SISTERS: Diego Maradona has a total of 5 sisters as you can see below.
He has three elder sisters and two younger brothers.
Diego Maradona and Claudia Villafane Love Story:
Diego Maradona walked the aisle with his long time sweetheart Claudia Villafane on November 7, 1984.
Both of them lived together in love and harmony. She stayed with him and saw him through his trying years.
The couple was blessed with two daughters, Dalma Nerea and Giannina Dinorah.
Dalma Maradona is an Argentinean Actress and singer. She was born on 2nd April, 1987 in Barrio Norte, Argentina.
She began her acting career at the Hugo Midón theater arts school. She went on to earn her degree in performances from Instituto Universitario de Arte.
She is best known for bringing to life Sofia in the children’s series Cebollitas.
His second daughter, Giannina Maradona was born on the 16th of May, 1989. She was introduced to Sergio Aguero in 2008 by Diego Maradona, and both seemed to get along quickly.
Giannina married Sergio Aguero in 2008, and their son Benjamin was born in 2009. The couple divorced in 2013.
Diego Maradona and his wife Claudia Villafane was known to have married for 15 years and divorced back in 2004.
During their divorce proceedings, he confessed having an illegitimate son, Diego Sinagra, who plays football in Italy (as at time of writing).
He was also blessed with another son, Diego Fernando, in 2013 from his ex-long term partner Veronica Ojeda.
From 1980s until 2004, he remained a drug addict, which negatively affected his health and performance.
Though he relocated to Cuba and tried following a drug rehab plan, things did not seem to better as he suffered a major myocardial infarction following a cocaine overdose in 2004.
Maradona has two children – legally. In a slightly ambivalent attitude towards fatherhood he once said: “My legitimate kids are Dalma and Giannina. The rest are a product of my money and mistakes.”
This fueled anger to his illegitimate son, Diego Sinagra during a press conference talk.
Diego Maradona Biography Facts – Career Summary:
Many had changed after his play with the Little Onions. At the age of 12, he was chosen to play for Los Cebollitas.
His skills continued to be appreciated by the audience. At the age of 15, he got a chance to make his professional debut with Argentinos Juniors.
He led the Los Cebollitas to a 136-unbeaten streak, displaying his prodigious capability and talent.
A short but fearless midfielder was renowned for his ability to create scoring chances for himself and others, Maradona led club teams to many championships in Argentina.
Maradona did not let go of this opportunity to bring his family out of poverty. This was his dream and he saw himself accomplishing that.
The pinnacle of his career came as a member of the Argentinean national team that won the 1986 World Cup. Diego was a consistent target for dirty tricks in his international career.
During the 1986 World Cup in Mexico alone there were 53 fouls against him. His performance there included two memorable goals in a quarter-final victory over England:
The first was scored illegally with his left hand, which Maradona later claimed was the work of “the hand of God”.
His second goal required no supernatural help, other than an otherworldly ability to dribble past an onslaught of defenders to find the back of the net.
Altogether, Maradona played in four World Cups, and scored an impressive 34 goals in 91 international appearances for Argentina.
After the World Cup, Maradona was transferred to Spanish side FC Barcelona for world record fees of $7.6 million. In 1983, Maradona was able to keep his focus and guided the team to win the Copa del Rey and Spanish Super Cup.
He had a very successful two years with the side scoring 38 goals in a total of 58 games. But off-field problems with the staff and players forced him to be transferred to Italian side Napoli for another World record fee of $10.5 million.
Despite his unquestioned brilliance on the pitch, the emotional Maradona became equally well known as a highly controversial figure.
He became addicted to cocaine while playing in Spain in the 1980s and received a 15-month suspension after testing positive for the substance in 1991.
Maradona endured another high-profile suspension three years later, this time for testing positive for ephedrine during the World Cup.
Diego Maradona Biography Facts – Retirement:
Maradona spent the twilight of his playing career in his home country, his physical skills diminished by mounting injuries and years of hard living. He announced his retirement on the eve of his birthday in 1997.
Post Playing Life:
The problems that plagued Maradona during his playing career continued after his retirement.
Around July 1998, Maradona receives a suspended sentence of two years and 10 months for shooting journalists with an air rifle in 1994.
Drug intake became worst after his retirement. Maradona was hospitalized for heart problems in 2000 and 2004. That year 2004 when hospitalized, he had to use of a respirator to breathe properly.
Admitted to a private clinic in Uruguay after suffering a heart attack. Is invited to recuperate in Cuba by Fidel Castro, and spends much of the next four years in the country.
Diego Maradona Obesity Issues:
Again after retirement, his drug and alcoholic lifestyle became uncontrollable. This behavior led him to a weight of 267 pounds. This was clearly an obesity problem. Many who saw him then referred to his belly as “The Belly of Budha”.
With the help of surgeons in Cartagena, Colombia, a gastric bypass operation was done. This surgery help the portly star shed 50kg from his current weight of 121kg. This happened in 2005.
After the surgery, some criticism was raised among medical community regarding the big risk they just incurred. A risk not only for the patient, but also for the hospital prestige. Diego Maradona could have died in the process.
Besides the risk, some approved the surgery die to Diego’s rebellious nature saying he woun’t be missed so much he had died in the process.
Diego Armando’s impulsive personality didn´t help to maintain his diet and post-surgery care, so he gained back part of the lost weight.
Diego Maradona Untold Biography – Player and Goal of the Century Award:
The new millennium came, FIFA in their wisdom decided to award a player of the century title.
An internet poll conducted by them named Maradona the top player of the 20th century. Huge controversy followed this announcement.
According to Maradona, “The people voted for me. Now they want me to share the prize with Pele. I’m not going to share the prize with anybody.”
This was where his beef with Pele started.
More so, Maradona’s second goal against England was voted as “Goal of the Century” in a 2002 online poll conducted by FIFA.
He received the ball in his own half and dribbled passed five English players with 11 touches, covering more than half of the ground to score the goal.
As a tribute to his skill and brilliance, the authorities at the Stadium built a statue of him scoring the “Goal of the Century” and placed it at the entrance of the stadium.
The Argentine Coach:
In 2008, Maradona was hired to coach the Argentinean national team.
Although the Argentines boasted a talented squad headlined by Lionel Messi, perhaps the best player in the world, they were bounced from the 2010 World Cup with a 4-0 thrashing by Germany in the quarter-finals, and Maradona’s contract was not renewed.
Despite the public disappointments, Maradona remains beloved in Argentina as a native son who rose from humble beginnings to reach the apex of stardom on an international stage.
Diego Maradona Tatoo Facts:
Diego Maradona currently has five tattoos, including the names of both his daughters “Gianinna and Dalma” on each forearm. Diego also has a dragon tattooed on his left leg as seen in the picture below.
Diego Maradona also has a tattoo of the famous Argentine Marxist revolutionary, Che Guevara, on his upper right arm.
Diego has been quoted as saying “I carry him on my arm and in my heart. I learned his story, I learned to love him. I think I know the truth about him.”
More so, on his left leg is a portrait tattoo of former prime minister of Cuba, Fidel Castro.
Diego said “Meeting him was like touching the sky with my hands. What he has done for me is indescribable. Along with God, he is the reason I am alive.”
Diego Maradona Nicknames:
Diego Maradona was adorned with nicknames during his illustrious career, but the most original is “Barrilete Cósmico” in English, “Cosmic Kite”.
The name was given to him by legendary Uruguayan radio commentator Victor Hugo Morales and was first heard by the Argentine public in 1986, just after he scored that goal against England.
“Cosmic Kite. What planet have you come from?” he screamed. Years later the commentator said he had believed Maradona’s dribbling was so unpredictable that for opponents it must have been like chasing a kite in the wind.
Diego Maradona Biography – Love and Hatred for Napoli:
Diego Maradona was most famous for his time at Napoli. He came to Napoli after he fell out of favor with the FC Bercelona club president Jose P. Liuis Nunez.
He was transferred for record $10.48 million. Maradona is the only player in the history of football to have received a world record transfer fee twice.
Upon his arrival, Maradona was welcomed by 75,000 fans when presented on July 5, 1984 as a Napoli Player. His arrival raised a hope of the fans and they believed that the savior had arrived.
He elevated the club to new height in its era and Napoli won its maiden Serie A Italian Championship in 1986-87. The fan adored Maradona and the celebration carried round the clock for a week.
He helped Napoli to win Copa Italia in 1987, the UEFA Cup in 1989 and the Italian Supercup in 1990 apart from Serie A championship. Many new born children were named ‘Maradona‘ in his honor in Italy.
His problems at Napoli started when he started missing games and taking drugs. First, he was fined $70,000 in fine by his club for missing games and practices because of stress. His cocaine use continued and was also linked to Camorra, the criminal organization.
He served 15 month ban for failing a drug test for cocaine and was released by Napoli in 1992. In his honor and for his achievements his jersey No. 10 was retired by Napoli.
Maradona in 1996: “I was, I am and I always will be a drug addict. A person who gets involved in drugs has to fight it every day.”
He left owing Napoli a little bit of money to the Italian tax man. Officials said in 2009 that Maradona owed them €37 million. However, more than half of this is interest on the original debt.
Diego Maradona Football Idols:
He was inspired by Brazilian Rivelino and George Best of Northern Ireland while growing up.
Diego Maradona admired for their courage, outstanding achievements and noble qualities.
Diego Maradona Hand of God Referee:
Ali Bin Nasser was the referee who officiated the game and blew the whistle when Maradona scored the “Hand of God Goal”. Maradona after 29 years visited Ali Bin Nasser.
This interesting visit happened on the August 17, 2015. Maradona went all the way to Tunisia and paid a tribute to his referee hero and presenting a signed Argentine Jersey to him.
It was Ali Bin Nasser who stood holding the ball in the picture below.
Meeting his ‘eternal friend’ and giving him a signed Argentine shirt meant a lot for him.
Diego Maradona kissed and hugged the man after his heart.They both smiled after 29 years.
This had brought heavy criticism among England Football pundits and supporters. Their Hatred which appeared to hand soften for both pairs suddenly jumped.
Tunisian referee Ali Bin Nasser when asked why he did that claimed his decision to award the goal was influenced by Dochev, the linesman.
“I was waiting for Dochev to give me a hint of what exactly happened but he didn’t signal for a handball,” Bin Nasser said. Despite attempting to transmit the hatred to him, both parties shared it.
Diego Maradona Hand of God Linesman:
First, the Linesman, a Bulgarian who failed to report Diego Maradona’s Hand of God goal had died. He died at the age of 80.
Bogdan Dochev spent every moment of his life in sober as to why he still couldn’t see Maradona’s hand of God goal at the 1986 World Cup.
Bogdan Dotchev said of the incident: “Although I felt immediately there was something irregular, back in that time Fifa didn’t allow the assistants to discuss the decisions with the referee.
If Fifa had put a referee from Europe in charge of such an important game, the first goal of Maradona would have been disallowed.”
He said previously: “Diego Maradona ruined my life. He is a brilliant footballer but a small and foolish man. He is low in height and wisdom and as a person.
The instructions Fifa gave us before the game were clear – if a colleague was in a better position than mine, I should respect his view.”
Diego Maradona Biography – Link with Gadaffi:
In 2003, Maradona was appointed as technical consultant by Al-Saadi, the third son of Muammar Gaddafi . Al-Saadi at that time was playing in the Serie A for Perugia Calcio.
Church of Maradona:
In today’s society we see athletes as idols and put them on a pedestal for all the world to see. But do they deserve the status of a god?
They are definitely in the top-tier of what they do, but to worship them? that is on a whole new level.
Did you know??..Argentine fans started a “Church of Maradona” in Buenos Aires in 1998.
The Church of Maradona takes this support to a whole new level. The followers of this establishment literally worship this man’s “godly” left foot that he displays when he steps on the pitch.
With over 120,000 followers, The Church of Maradona worships Diego Maradona, a retired Argentina football legend, as a god. These followers have even created their own Ten Commandments, Lord’s Prayer, and even have their own religious text.
The followers also have their own Lord’s Prayer!
“Our Diego, who art on earth, hallowed be thy left foot, thy magic come, they goals be remembered.”
The church followers live through their God Diego. His life is theirs. The dark times he faced with his drug addiction impacted the entire group of followers.
They have even changed the current year to meet with the birth of their beloved Diego. For example, the year 2016 in the Church of Maradona would be 56 AD (After Diego).
They celebrate their God Diego’s birthday as a form of Christmas celebration.
They decorate their trees and bedrooms with themes of Maradona and the colors of the Argentina flag colors. The Church also has ten set codes that each member must follow to carry on the legacy of the establishment.
Below are the Maradona Ten Commandments;
- You must have a Church of Maradona Alter in your home Church of Maradona’s Alter
- Love football above all else
- Declare unconditional love for Diego and the beauty of football
- Defend the Argentina shirt
- Spread the news of Diego’s miracles
- Honor the temples where he played and his sacred shirts
- Don’t proclaim Diego as a member of any single team
- Preach and spread the principles of the church
- Make Diego your middle name
- Name your first son Diego
Diego Maradona Bio – War of Words Against Pele:
In an ongoing war of words have existed between Maradona and Pele ever since Maradona’s Player of the century winning. Below are war words that have existed between them.
Pele said during Maradona’s reign as national team boss: “But it isn’t Maradona’s fault. It is the fault of whoever put him in charge.” ..The Argentine hit back later, saying: “Pele should go back to the museum. And stay there.”
- After smashing a photographer’s camera for being intrusive, Diego said “I did it with the hand of reason.”
- Maradona has vehemently defended Lionel Messi when any criticism is leveled against him. On July 2, 2010, when he said: “Anyone saying he didn’t have a great World Cup is an idiot.”
- 2010 World Cup- Despite this terrible defeat the team managed to get through to the tournament.
To his critics Maradona retorted. “To those who did not believe: now s**k my d**k – I’m sorry ladies for my words – and keep on suck**g it. I am either white or black.
FIFA wasn’t terribly happy about this foul mouthed outburst. They slapped a two month ban on him.
- FIFA Attack- Maradona got his own verbal revenge against FIFA when he complained vociferously about the new ball to be used in the 2010 World Cup tournament in South Africa.
He said- “I would ask all Fifa directors to stop talking about me and to start working on having a proper football. This ball is useless. It’s impossible to control.”
- 1998 World Cup- Back in 1998 he said, about the World Cup of that year. “The players have all got square feet.
They are like Robocops, they have more need of lubricant than massage. I don’t believe the tournament could be worse.“
Cause of Diego Maradona’s Death:
The Football icon Diego Maradona died at 60 on the 25th day of November 2020 following a heart attack.
This came after he was recovering at his home (in Tigre) after undergoing brain surgery at the beginning of November 2020.
Maradona had a blood clot in the brain and complained of low spirits and fatigue before his unfortunate death.