These four words – “God’s hand” – describe one of the most famous moments in football history, the goal, which belongs to one of the most iconic football players in the game’s history – Diego Armando Maradona, who is 60 years old.
On the afternoon of this moment of divine intervention, in 1986, on a raging day in Mexico City, Maradona was at its peak.
While this is the first goal against England in the quarter-finals of the 1986 World Cup – the ball hitting over goalkeeper Peter Shilton, who was 20 inches taller than the petty Argentine – showed Maradona’s deceit, the majesty of his footballing capabilities four minutes later fully reflected.
After receiving the ball inside his own half of the field, Maradona weaved his short, stocky legs so quickly as he left seven England defenders behind, rounded Shilton and cut the ball into the net.
“Zseni! Zseni! Zseni!” went to legendary commentary by Victor Hugo Morales. “Which planet did you come from? I want to cry.”
Maradona was arguably a common name before the 1986 World Cup, but after Argentina reached the title, it became a bona fide global superstar.
Heights and lows
The stratospheric height of Maradona on the field was coupled with extreme lows. His well-documented addiction, drug use, illegitimate children, and quarrels over money all ruined Argentina at various stages of his career.
While he captivated the world in Mexico and brought glory to Argentina, Maradona’s personal life was shrouded in controversy.
Her lover, Cristiana Sinagra, returned to Italy, seriously pregnant with Diego Armando Maradona Sinagra. For years, he refused to acknowledge paternity and only met his son in 2003.
Kapadia’s film depicts cases where Maradona came into contact with the Camorra – the Naples mafia – with a documentary that flashed photographs of a footballer smiling next to members of a criminal syndicate.
As a Napoli player, at the height of his addiction, partying from Sunday to Wednesday, Maradona described how he would return home and lock himself in the bathroom to hide from his infant daughters.
God of Naples
Despite the fact that football eventually led on this dark road, Maradona described the sport as his “salvation.” His talent helped lift his family out of poverty and he left Boca Juniors in his native Argentina for a world record transfer fee in 1982 to Barcelona.
The five-meter magician spent two injured years at the Catalan club, never being able to take full advantage of his opportunities before signing up for Naples – or as a newsreader put it: “Italy’s poorest city buys the most expensive player in the world.”
In the city of Naples, football is a religion for its inhabitants. Maradona will continue to be their God.
At his unveiling, 70,000 fans flocked to San Napolo Stadium in Naples to get a glimpse of their new contract, and they could hardly believe that the biggest footballer on the planet had opted for their team.
During his seven years at the club, he led Napoli almost alone until the first Serie A Championship in 1987. He followed this by winning second three years later, while also leading the Italian Cup and UEFA. Cup of glory.
Maradona’s portraits are painted far to the ground in the city, some depicting the “Golden Boy” with a glittering halo. Although Maradona came entirely from another continent, he became the adopted son of Naples.
After a failed drug test in 1991 and a 15-month ban on football, as well as another failed drug test at the 1994 World Cup, his career caught fire. While he also had studios in Spain and Argentina, he failed to regain the form that dazzled fans and opponents.
Maradona’s later nomadic leadership career took him from the chaotic spell that controlled the Argentine national team to the UAE domestic league.
The time of management of the Mexican Dorados club, documented in the backstage of Netflix’s “Maradona in Mexico” series, was surprisingly successful, but ended in two narrow promotional play-offs.
The red carpet was pulled up wherever Maradona went — or on a throne, such as when he returned to the boys at Newell’s Old Boys while being head of the current Gimnasia y Esgrima de La Plata club.
Many played the game, but none left a lasting mark like El Diego.