Watch: Diego Maradona retired from professional football 20 years ago today

Reuters
del Published: Oct 26, 2017, 08:56 AM(IST)

Diego Maradona retired from professional soccer 20 years ago on Wednesday.The superstar, widely regarded as on the greatest players of all time, played his final match for Boca Juniors against their arch-rivals River Plate on October 25, 1997. Photograph:( Reuters )

The superstar, widely regarded as on the greatest players of all time, played his final match for Boca Juniors against their arch-rivals River Plate on October 25, 1997. Fittingly, Maradona`s Boca won 2-1.

The stocky Argentine was widely seen as one of the world`s best-ever players in his 1980s` heyday, but he battled drug addiction, obesity and alcoholism for years after retiring from the game.

Rising to stardom from a Buenos Aires slum to lead Argentina to World Cup victory, Maradona`s life is the ultimate rags-to-riches story in the soccer-mad country where he has gained the iconic status of Che Guevara or Evita Peron.

He moved to Boca Juniors in 1981, helped them win the Argentine championship in 1982, and was transferred to Barcelona for a then record 3 million U.S. dollars. He moved to Italy`s Napoli two years later.

He was feted as a god by the tifosi as he inspired Napoli to their first league titles in 1987 and 1990 and the UEFA Cup in 1989. But, during a decade at the top of his sport, the success and adoration seemed to blind him as he became embroiled in vice and corruption scandals.

At the peak of his form, he led Argentina to a 3-2 triumph over West Germany in the 1986 World Cup final in Mexico. It was his crowning glory.

Maradona`s fall was sudden and swift. After he had coaxed a mediocre Argentina team to their second successive World Cup final in Rome in July 1990, he failed a doping test in Italy in 1991.

He was suspended for 15 months and was also investigated over alleged Mafia ties and later arrested in Argentina for cocaine possession.

He tested positive for a cocktail of drugs during his fourth World Cup in 1994 and was suspended from the tournament. He came back with Boca Juniors in 1995 but failed another drug test two years later before retiring on his 37th birthday, five days after the River Plate game.

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