What Does the Spread Mean?

The football world is in an uproar due to the sudden death of Argentine legend Diego Armando Maradona this week. At the ripe old age of 62, Maradona succumbed to pneumonia, setting off a national mourning period for the ‘Pataño’. As the saying goes, “It’s not the destination but the journey that matters”, and perhaps this mantra could be applied to Maradona’s extraordinary life. To celebrate the life and times of El Piojo, here’s a look at five things you need to know about the legendary Argentine footballing icon.

He Helped Revive Football In Argentina

Although he failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Diego Maradona has arguably done more for football in Argentina than anyone else. After devoting much of his career to the sport’s professionalisation, the World Cup-winning captain of the 1986 Mexico side laid the foundations for a renewed interest in football throughout the country. In 2015, Argentina hosted the inaugural FIFA World Cup and, in doing so, became the first South American nation to organise and host a successful World Cup.

He Mocked The ‘Death Squad’ During Argentina’s 1986 World Cup Campaign

In a famous incident that divided football fans and enraged the front line of a rival team, Maradona jeered the hated Italian ‘Death Squad’ during a quarter-final clash between the two sides in the 1986 World Cup. After the game, Maradona made light of the incident, famously quipping, “The worst thing they could do to me is kill my footballing enthusiasm”. Nevertheless, his ill-advised jibe did indeed prove to be his undoing. After he was banned for life by FIFA, Maradona was unable to lead his country in the World Cup in 2002 or 2004.

He Is The Only Footballing Icon To Have Inspired Two Popular Film Characters

In 2017, the Hollywood biopic ‘Dirty Great’, starring Will Smith as the legendary English footballing great, George Burchett, was released. Directed by Andy Muschietti, the film brought to life the story of how Burchett returned to Britain as a conquering hero after starring in the 1945 World Cup-winning team for Argentina. In addition to being played by Smith, ‘Dirty Great’ featured an array of renowned footballers, including Héctor ‘El Father’ Omar Fernández, Diego Maradona, Rui Costa, and more. The film was an immediate hit, receiving positive reviews and even earning several awards, including the Grand Prix at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.

He Is The King Of Crowdsourced Research

If there’s one thing football fans love to do, it’s to fact-check the statistical veracity of sporting events and individual footballers. In 2016, the popular football podcast ‘The Fifth Estate’ ran a fascinating interview with Lionel Messi, in which the Argentine national team captain discussed a wide variety of topics, including the state of the game and the 2018 World Cup. Towards the end of the interview, the host, Joe Parro, asked Messi if he kept in touch with Diego Maradona. The 32-year-old nodded and, in so doing, became the very first footballer to be featured on the podcast.

He Was Admired By Several Of The Pianos He Kept A Linked To His Name

One of the remarkable aspects of Maradona’s career is the collection of instruments he kept associated with his name. The legendry Argentinian born in Buenos Aires in October 1964 began playing the piano as a child and continued his studies throughout adolescence. After graduating from university with a bachelor of commerce degree, Maradona immediately turned to a lucrative career in corporate music, touring the globe playing for large groups. While on the subject of music, Maradona is also well known for making light of his love of opera, often acting out ‘rock star’ fantasies to amuse his fans. Although he didn’t always play the piano, it’s fair to say that Diego Maradona is one of the greatest men in the history of football, as well as one of the most influential figures of modern culture.