Diego Maradona: The Neapolitan

Sep 10, 2020

Life Stories

Diego Maradona


Diego Armando Maradona was born in Buenos Aires in 1960. He grew up with a poor family in Villa Fiorito, a shanty town on the edge of the city. It was soon obvious Diego was an exceptional talent. He started with Argentinos Juniors aged 16. He joined Boca Juniors in 1981 and was a star for Argentina at the 1982 World Cup. This led to a move to Spain, to play for Barcelona.

Adopted Son of Naples

At Barcelona, Maradona played well and the team won trophies, but his volatile temperament caused problems. In 1984 at a match against Bilbao watched by the King of Spain, Maradona started a fight that led to a mass brawl. Barcelona sold him to Napoli. Maradona had found it hard to fit in with a different culture at Barcelona, but Naples was different. Napoli fans adored him, he was happy, the team won two league titles, the first ever by a team from Italy’s South. Maradona’s time as “Saviour” of Naples coincided with his leading Argentina to win the World Cup in 1986.


Trouble always followed Diego Maradona. There were violent incidents, fines for missing training, problems with his weight, and his use of cocaine. He was banned for a year for failing a drug test. He left Naples in 1992. He managed clubs in Argentina, as well as the national team. Controversy followed him. He fired an air rifle at reporters. He had financial problems. Most people prefer to remember the legendary player, not how his later life turned out.

Thinking points

Diego Maradona began life in a poor district on the edge of Buenos Aires. His origins helped to make him a natural genius on a football field, but did not equip him for a life in the limelight of celebrity. Maradona achieved both fame and fortune but did not find it easy to live with either. Migration to another country and culture can be difficult. Maradona had very different experiences in Barcelona and Naples.

Educators could look at the life story of Diego Maradona and work with young people to consider how the story of Maradona is intertwined with the globalisation of football, as well as the emergence of “rock and roll” lifestyles. What is the relation to migration?

Find out more

A lot has been said and written about Diego Maradona. Iconic moments in his career can be found on the official FIFA YouTube channel. Various well narrated accounts of his career and life can be read on These Football Times.


Diego Maradona signing for Barcelona, June 1982 (Source El Gráfico)

Diego Maradona signing for Barcelona, June 1982 (Source: El Gráfico).

Life Story

Migration from shanty town to global fame and struggle.


Article Tags:   every-day life  |   integration  |   migration  |   well-being

Do you wanna know more?



Browse our collection of stories about football history and inclusion. With the history of football being made up of millions of stories, of individuals and communities, of movements and processes, we offer stories that can inspire our cultural conversations today.


Get to know untold stories where individuals are making history with football. When faced with insurmountable challenges, individuals past and present can use football as a cultural force to foster positive change in society. We honour these individuals and tell their ‘untold’ stories in short videos.

Educational Resources

Explore our innovative educational resources that use football’s history, heritage and legacy to engage young people. The resources include ready-made lesson plans and historical source collections for school history education as well as toolkit with activities for non-formal settings.

Trending Stories

The Climb to Equality

The Climb to Equality

Football Makes History spoke with Laura Youngson, co-founder of Equal Playing Field and co-owner of the world record for highest altitude official football match ever played. This is the story of why we wanted to retell this story, and how we did it....

LATEST POST  You may also be interested in

Football: A People’s History of Europe?

Football: A People’s History of Europe?

In cooperation with the festival “Forum on European Culture”, we spoke with author David Goldblatt about the value of football for Europe, taking historical perspectives.

Playing the game for peace

Playing the game for peace

On this day, 21 September, we look at how playing a game of football can contribute to peace by looking at the work of the NGO Childrens Football Alliance.

September in Football

September in Football

As the UEFA 2020 European Championships got pushed ahead one year, we provide you with a 365-day #onthisday series of posts to help all fans out there to go back in time, think, and reflect.

Football speaking out in perspective

Football speaking out in perspective

Football represents a large cultural space in society. It is not isolated from political developments. How have football players used this space to achieve their social goals?

Share This