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Diego Maradona: 1961(?)—: Athlete Biography - Child Soccer Star, The Infamous "hand Of God" Goal, National Folk Hero, "death Would Glorify Him"

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Diego Maradona: 1961(?)—: Athlete.

Diego Maradona is considered one of the greatest stars in the history of soccer, but his has been a career marred by controversy. The Argentine midfielder's statistical record is impressive: he has scored 255 goals in the 483 professional games he has played over a two-decade career, and was credited with leading an underdog Italian team twice to a national championship. Along the way he became a national folk hero in Argentina, and his rise from the slums of Buenos Aires to one of the most generously compensated players in the history of the sport has become an oft-told tale.

Maradona's fall from grace came after some well-publicized drug scandals hampered a career already beset by signs of physical deterioration. Still, the man deemed "one of soccer's most vivid, controversial figures" by People writer Ron Arias remains a living legend in his native Argentina. "Maradona has always been more than just a footballer," noted a profile in the Economist, which described him as "an icon for the country's poor" and a man whose celebrity "helped to liberate Argentine pride at a time when, under military rule, nationalism was a matter of some ambivalence."

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