After falling out with Barcelona’s president, Maradona joined Napoli
It was at Napoli where Maradona truly settled and played the best football of his career. He wowed the fans with his outrageous skills and irresistible performances and became a cult hero.
Maradona led the team to the most successful period in its history and he stayed for seven years scoring 81 goals in 188 games. He led the team to the Serie A title in 1987 and 1990, the only two times the club has won the league.
Napoli also won the Coppa Italia in 1987 and Maradona finished the 1988 season as the leading scorer in Serie A. The following season Maradona showed the rest of Europe what a player he was as Napoli won the UEFA Cup beating Stuttgart 5-4 over two legs.
World Cup glory in 1986
The pinnacle of Maradona’s illustrious career came in the World Cup in Mexico in 1986. He was undoubtedly the world’s best player and was named Player of the Tournament as Argentina won the World Cup for only the second time in their history.
He scored five goals to lead Argentina to glory as they beat West Germany 3-2 in a dramatic final. However, Maradona’s most important contribution to the team came at the quarter finals stage against England. He scored both Argentina goals in a 2-1 victory.
Hand of God
He scored what is arguably the greatest goal of all time as he took the ball from inside his own half and ran through the England defence before rounding goalkeeper, Peter Shilton, to slot home.
Before that incredible second though, Maradona had opened the scoring with a goal that no Englishman will ever forgive. Argentina were attacking and Maradona played the ball into the box.
The ball was loose and Steve Hodge attempted to clear it but instead he lofted the ball high into the middle of the penalty area.
Maradona had continued his run into the box and he jumped for the ball with the England goalkeeper Peter Shilton. With the referee unable to see, Maradona lifted his hand and punched the ball before Shilton could get to it and it rolled into the unguarded net.
Despite desperate appeals from the England players the goal stood. Maradona had cheated to help his team on the way to winning the World Cup.
Maradona also scored both goals in Argentina’s semi final victory over Belgium and set up the winning goal in the final.
Maradona makes headlines off the pitch – Read more