Diego Maradona is the Babe Ruth of Argentinian soccer, a pudgy, charming and hard-partying star who dominated his country's favorite sport. Maradona is best remembered for helping Argentina win the 1986 World Cup with two goals in a quarterfinal match against England; on the first he punched the ball in with his hand, a sneaky maneuver that went unseen by the referee. (Maradona wryly credited the goal to "a little bit of Maradona's head, a little bit of the hand of God.") Maradona was a goal-scoring midfielder for Argentina in four World Cups (1982, 1986, 1990 and 1994) and played professionally for more than two decades. Among his many pro clubs were FC Barcelona (1982-84) and SSC Napoli (1984-91). His career included plenty of controversy: he was suspended for 15 months in 1991 after testing postiive for cocaine, suspended again in 1994 after failing another drug test, and ran up an unpaid income tax bill in Italy that eventually exceeded 30 million Euros. Photos of Maradona looking bloated and decidedly unathletic were commonplace in the 1990s, and he survived a heart attack in 2004, but he never quite lost the public's affection. In 2005 he began hosting his own television show in Argentina titled La Noche del Diez, or "The Night of the Number Ten."
Villa Fiorito, Maradona’s hometown, is a slum on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. Some sources list his birthplace as Lanus, but the biography on his official site names Villa Fiorito… Maradona had his stomach stapled in a weight-loss operation in 2005… Lionel Messi, an Argetine soccer star of the 21st century, has often been compared with the young Maradona.
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