In quotes: Diego Maradona

What can you say about Diego Maradona that hasn’t already been said?

Such is the gravity of attention Maradona has received in his life, the challenge in this chapter of our ‘In Quotes’ series was simply narrowing down the vast array of quotes to a mere 20. But we have a collection of belters, both from the man himself as well as from those who love and hate him the most.

Since retirement, he has often been a master provocateur, embarrassing opponents with witty quips where he previously relied on fleetness of foot. One thing that has never waned is his obsession for football.

His behaviour has consistently divided football fans around the world, most famously of all following the ‘Hand of God’ incident against England in 1986, a match which embodied both the angel and the devil within.

Maradona is a complex, enthralling and often controversial character, yet he is undeniably one of the greatest and most beguiling talents the game has ever seen. Enjoy the quotes…

In the words of Diego…

1. On the Messi vs Ronaldo debate:

‘Messi scores a goal and celebrates. Cristiano scores a goal and poses like he’s in a shampoo commercial’

2. The controversy around his alleged illegitimate children:

‘My legitimate kids are Dalma and Giannina. The rest are a product of my money and mistakes’

3. On his number one fan:

‘My mother thinks I am the best. And I was raised to always believe what my mother tells me’

4. On the ‘Hand of God’ goal against England in World Cup 1986:

‘I stole English hearts like I stole their wallets…. If I could apologise and go back and change history I would do. But the goal is still a goal, Argentina became world champions and I was the best player in the world’

5. When asked about controversies in the media:

‘I am black or white, I’ll never be grey in my life’

“God makes me play well”

6. On England’s rising star, David Beckham:

‘There are hundreds of Beckhams playing football all over the world. He is a nice man and I’m sure he will reach 100 appearances for England. But he is just a good player, nothing more’

7. On his legacy:

‘I am Maradona, who makes goals, who makes mistakes. I can take it all, I have shoulders big enough to fight with everybody’

8. When asked about his religious views:

‘God makes me play well. That is why I always make the sign of the cross when I walk out onto the field. I feel I would be betraying Him if I didn’t’

9. On US President, Donald Trump:

‘For me, he’s more of a comic. He’s like a cartoon to me. Every time I see him on TV, I switch the channel’

10. On his arch rival, Pele:

‘Pele should go back to the museum… There would be no debate about who was the best footballer the world had ever seen – me or Pele. Everyone would say me’

Fellow professionals…

11. Michel Platini:

‘What Zidane could do with a ball, Maradona could do with an orange

12. Fabio Cannavaro:

‘Maradona is a God to the people of Naples. He changed history. In 80 years, we had always suffered, fighting against relegation, yet in seven seasons with him we won two leagues, a UEFA Cup and two Italian cups’

13. Eric Cantona:

‘Some say Pele was the greatest player of all time, but not me. Maradona will always be the greatest…The crucial difference with Pele is that Maradona wasn’t surrounded by great players; he had to carry the team himself’

14. Peter Shilton (on the ‘Hand of God’ incident):

‘We’ve been offered a number of times to put it to bed but he won’t apologise… I always say he’s the greatest player in history but I don’t respect him as a sportsman and I never will. Same as Terry Butcher won’t’

15. Carlos Tevez:

‘Diego, for all Argentinians, is God. And he always will be’

16. Julio Grondona:

‘In Argentine football there is a before and an after Maradona’

17. Sir Bobby Robson:

‘A genius, a real artist, one of the greatest players in the world. He could win a match on his own… on his own’

18. John Barnes:

‘Did he scare defenders? He scared absolutely everybody! You couldn’t play against him’

19. Ruud Gullit:

‘The best player there has ever been, better than Pele. I watched him closely in Italy every week and he was at a different level to everyone else. Some of the things he did were unbelievable’

20. The final word goes to Lionel Messi:

‘Even if I played for a million years, I’d never come close to Maradona. Not that I’d want to anyway. He’s the greatest there’s ever been’

Tomorrow’s ‘In Quotes’… José Mourinho

Chris Henderson

By |2020-04-18T22:35:56+00:00April 16th, 2020|

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