Diego Maradona has a life filled with success and great moments but also has one with a dramatic downfall which essentially makes him a tragic hero. He is considered one of the greatest stars in the history of soccer.
He rose from poverty to one of the most compensated players in the history of the sport and has been described as an “icon for the country’s poor” (Peoples Magazine). Most notably he has been recognized as a man whose celebrity “helped to liberate Argentine pride at a time when, under military rule, Nationalism has a matter of some ambivalence” (Peoples Magazine).From a great and fulfilling career to a pitiful and disappointing fall from people’s grace, Maradona has succumbed to being a tragic hero. Maradona grew up playing soccer as if he had come out of the womb with a ball at his feet.
His cousin gave him a soccer ball at a young age and he played with it constantly. He later claimed to have slept with it (Contemporary Hispanic Biography). He joined a team, “Las Cebollitas” at the age of eight and went onto win the national championship.He signed his first professional contract with Argentinos Juniors at age fourteen and made his first- division debut in 1976, ten days before his sixteenth birthday (Britannica).
Diego accomplished more in the fourteen years of his life then most soccer players accomplish in their entire life. At sixteen years and four months he made his debut for the Argentina national team becoming the youngest player to ever play for his nation. In 1982 he moved to Boca Juniors FC and won the argentine championship, He then moved to FC Barcelona in Spain, winning the Spanish cup there and finally to SSC Napoli in Naples, Italy (Britannica).His move from Barcelona, one of the best clubs in the world, to Napoli which was a mostly average team, astounded the soccer world and absolutely stunned everyone when he led them to win game after game. The small town of Naples has an odd occurrence one day in 1984, 75,000 soccer fans had lined outside Napoli’s stadium to get in. Napoli had signed the twenty four year old talent for a record ? 6.
9 million fee. "It was enough," wrote historian David Goldblatt. "They [the fans] were convinced that the savior had arrived. One newspaper even made it clear that despite the lack of a "mayor, houses, schools, buses, employment and sanitation, none of this matters because we have Maradona” (ESPN).And a savior he was, Maradona scored thirty two goals in his first two seasons and led the team to win two league titles and success in the European competition. At the same time he was helping lead his country to winning games and he himself was winning the hearts and adoration of the people of Argentina.
At the time it seemed like Maradona had everything going for him, but similarly to Icarus, Maradona flew too high to the sun and came down hard.Celebrities tend to be their own enemies in the sense that they make bad choices for themselves. Diego, the once proud soccer player and hero of the peoples started his decline to a lowly broke and drug addict in his time at Napoli. In the 89’-90’ season, Maradona was fined $70,000 from his club for missing games practices and cocaine because of “stress” (New York Times). He served a fifteen month and was released by Napoli for failing another drug test. He went around South America and Spain looking for a club to take him but no one wanted him for any longer than a year.
In 1994, the world cup in the US was going on and Maradona showed up to lead his country to yet another victory. However, he once again failed a drug test this time for ephedrine doping (New York Times). Over the course of two decades Maradona retired and tried to become a manager of a team but nothing worked for him. In March of 2009, Italian officials announced that Maradona owed the Italian Government €37 million in taxes; €23.
5 million of which was accrued interest on his original debt (BBC News).By 2012, Maradona had only paid €42,000, two luxury watches and a set of earrings (WSN. com). Diego worked his way far in the world and ended up making the mistake of thinking he was beyond Authority and disappointment.
After his tragic fall, Diego still had loyal people who empathized for him. Maradona fell from an incredible high standing to a very low point in his life. He was the hero, visionary, idol, hope, and the spirt of Argentina in the twentieth century. Everyone loved him dearly as if they knew him personally.The people of Argentina compared him to Achilles stating: “He has been so important for the Argentine people… And death would glorify him.
Maradona can offer no more and like Achilles, he should die young and glorious” (Contemporary Hispanic Biography). Diego was a hero and maybe if he had ended his career in a better way people would have remembered him in that way. People who support Maradona do so because he carried the hope of many. One supporter quoted: “We are the greatest when Maradona is the greatest” (Contemporary Hispanic Biography).