There’s hardly anything about the game of football that’s not competitive and heated debates add to the beauty of the competitive sport. One such debate in the football world is concerning who’s best fit to be called the god of football.
However, the title goes to the Argentine legend and football superstar Diego Maradona. And that’s because of the skill and ball mastery the legend displayed during his football days. Maradona didn’t record the highest number of goals or even assists in football. These are feats that only the likes of Messi, Pele, and Ronaldo have attained. Even the likes of Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldinho have more goals than him. However, Maradona is still widely regarded as the god of football.
The game of football is ever-evolving. Thrilling football talents come to the fore with amazing performances that wow the football world every once in a while. Maradona was one such football legend that sparked the interest and amazement of football fans with his style of play.
Diego Maradona’s not the best of the best the soccer world has seen, but let’s begin with why he is widely regarded as the god of football and what makes him the best fit for the title.
Read also: Most Assists In Football
Why Maradona Is Called God Of Football?
More than for any other reason, Maradona is widely regarded as the god of football because of how he handled the ball when it was at his feet. The sheer brilliance in his moves with the ball, his awe-inspiring dribbling skills, sharp vision, unusual ball control, and effectiveness even in tight corners were just a few reasons the Argentine football star bagged the god of a football title.
Although Maradona scored just 293 goals during his career and provided a total of 226 assists. His numbers pale in comparison to the records set by Pele, Messi, and Ronaldo, but his impact on the football field and style of play beat the performances of other star football players that are close fits for the title.
Here are a few facts about the Argentinian legend
You’d normally expect a tall and daunting stature on hearing of legendary performances on the football field. However, the god of football was anything else but built with a domineering stature. In fact, Diego Maradona was not tall or huge. The Argentine legend measures about 1.65m, which makes him even shorter than his successor, Lionel Messi, who measures 1.69m.
However, despite his physical limitations, he could execute the dribbles with flair, quickly change direction, and accelerate, all while maintaining good balance.
Besides this, Maradona was a strong player overall. With a compact physique and powerful legs to match, Maradona could withstand pressure from defenders while making his way to the back of the net with the ball at his feet. His sheer strength enabled him to wade through a company of defenders despite his small physical stature.
His Football Playing Style
Maradona’s football playing style makes him one of the greatest players of all time. A free-role football player usually plays either the attacking midfielder position or the second striker position. Maradona wore the number 10 jersey, and his thrilling style of play earned him the name “the classic number 10”.
The Argentine legend was a football strategist and an effective playmaker. Maradona had exceptional dribbling skills and always seemed to have the ball glued to his feet when taking it for a run.
He was always aware of the space around him when executing his moves and displayed unusual effectiveness even in tight spaces and when making technical moves with the ball. Although he was short, his strength and skill allowed him to hold onto the ball long enough for a teammate to get in a good position for an assist or for the opportunity for the perfect quick shot directed to some of the most acute corners of the goalpost.
His Creations On The Pitch
Maradona was way ahead of his time and contemporaries in his football days and was the creative mind behind many popular moves we’ve come to know and that have been perfected by other players many years later.
One such move is the popular Roulette wheel, which is popularly associated with Zinedine Zidane. The Roulette wheel in the Argentinian star’s days was called the Maradona turn. Another move was the Rabona, the move which the football legend was most popular associated with. Maradona provided a lot of assistance with this ingenious move.
Besides being excellent at handling the ball and executing technical moves with flair, Maradona was a natural leader and always shouldered the burden of his team. If his team won a game, he took the bulk of the glory, and if they lost, he was equally responsible for taking the blame and always came to the fore in this regard. This made his teammates rely on him so much.
Diego Maradona was able to sway the stadium and have everyone’s eyes fixed on him while with the ball. He electrified the stadium and always had fans on the tip of their toes as he could decide the fate of a game in a split moment. He could score crucial goals. And not just at any time but right when his team needed him to the most. Diego Maradona was the art and beauty of football so much that he is regarded as the first Barcelona player to get applauded by Real Madrid fans at the Copa del Rey finals in 1983 for the wonder goal he scored.
His Achievements For Club
The Argentine football legend scored 154 goals during his short but world-renowned career. It provided 77 assists after featuring in 335 games for the Italian club SSC Napoli, also for FC Barcelona, and Sevilla FC.
|Clubs||Number of matches played||Assists provided||Goals scored|
His International Career Achievements For Country
Maradona led Argentina to world cup glory twice, in 1986 and 1990. At the 1986 World Cup finals, he scored the famous “hand of God ” goal- an unnoticed foul goal against England by tapping in the ball with his hand.
Maradona also scored what remains FIFA’s voted “greatest goal of the century” barely four minutes after his much disputed “hand of God ” goal. He dribbled past four defenders, touching the ball just 11 times while running through more than half of the football pitch, executed a killer feint that sent the keeper on his backside, and sent the ball in the back of the net.
Maradona also led the Argentine national team to the World Cup finals in 1990, although they lost to West Germany. Overall, he played a total of 4 FIFA World Cups for Argentina.
Diego Maradona won a lot of awards in the course of his relatively short career. Here’s a summary of some of his achievements.
|FIFA World Cup golden ball||1986|
|FIFA World Cup silver shoe||1986|
|FIFA World Cup most assists||1986|
|Coppa Italia top scorer||1987-1988|
|FIFA player of the century||2000|
|FIFA’s goal of the century||2002|
|FIFA 100 greatest living players||2004|
|Italian football hall of fame||2014|
Controversies That Surrounded His Football Career
Diego Maradona was probably the player in football history with the most controversies surrounding his career. From drug scandals to an unprofessional lifestyle off the pitch, his career was eventually short-lived by his shenanigans.
The Argentine star was addicted to cocaine from somewhere around the ’80s to 2004. Diego Maradona received bans twice from football for drug abuse. The first was in 1991 and then in 1994. Maradona also had problems with obesity and the tendency to grow fat, but the talented football star was a hard worker. He would hit the gym a few days before a match, workout hard, and shed off all the weight he needed to get in form for the match.
Who Is The God Of Football 2023?
The Argentine forward and Paris Saint Germain football star Lionel Messi stands out as the god of football in 2023. Messi surprised the world when he led the Argentina national team to victory at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. And on the club end of his career, although the Paris Saint Germain star had a rather rough start this season, he still performed as the most effective player on the team.
Messi’s career has been decorated with impeccable success, and 2022 was no different for the Argentinian footballer. He accumulated 30 goals after making 38 shots in 47 appearances in 2021/ 2022 for Paris Saint Germain.
His astounding record-breaking ability positions him as the god of football in 2023. Messi has scored 790 goals in his still-active football career. He remains the only player to have scored the highest number of goals by a single player for a club. He also broke a series of records at the FIFA 2022 World Cup.
|Records Broken in 2022||Count|
|Highest Golden balls winner||2|
|Highest player of the match awards||11|
|Highest number of goal contributions||21|
|Most World Cup goals for Argentina||13|
|Most player of the match at a single World Cup||5|
Who Is The God Of Football Ronaldo Or Messi?
Messi is the god of football. Although both the Portuguese football star and the Argentine god of football are very talented football figures, Lionel Messi outshines Cristiano Ronaldo in many ways. Also, with his most recent addition of the World Cup to his collection of trophies, he undoubtedly beats his Portuguese rival, who hasn’t been able to lead the Portugal national team to World Cup victory.
Although both Messi and Ronaldo are among the world’s greatest football players, the records speak for themselves and make Messi the best fit for the football god title between the duo.
|European golden shoe||6||4|
|FIFA world player of the year||6||5|
|FIFA World Cup golden ball||2||0|
|Copa America golden ball||2||0|
Football is a severely competitive game. It has always been the nature of the sport. However, the contributions of some players to the game have had their names etched in gold for decades, and Maradona remains one such name. We continue to remember him as the legendary god of football.