Quotes on: Diego Maradona

“When Diego came to Argentinos Juniors for trials, I was really struck by his talent and couldn’t believe he was only eight years old. In fact, we asked him for his ID card so we could check it, but he told us he didn’t have ferit on him. We were sure he was having us on because, although he had the physique of a child, he played like an adult. When we discovered he’d been telling us the truth, we decided to devote ourselves purely to him.” — Francisco Cornejo, youth coach at Argentinos Juniors who discovered Maradona

As a young boy, Maradona would dazzle crowds with his skills and tricks during half-time intervals.
As a young boy, Maradona would dazzle crowds with his skills and tricks during half-time intervals.

“He was only a little kid, but he made such an impression in training, playing like one of the kids far bigger than him. He was from another planet. He was different.” — Francisco Cornejo

“The kid was on the small side, although big-headed. Apart from that you didn’t have to be a genius to realize that Maradona was something special.” — Jose-Maria Minguella, the football agent who helped Barcelona sign Maradona

“In Argentine football there is a before and and after Maradona.” — Julio Grondona

“Maradona epitomized the mystique of the working class revolution: aloof and arrogant like the 1980s.” — Manuel Vazquez Montalban, a Spanish journalist

“He had that magic, that special something that makes you realize you’re dealing with something out of this world, the likes of which will never be seen again.” — Luciano de Crescenzo, an Italian journalist

“The most important characters in mythology were (the Greek gods) Apollo and Dionysus. Apollo represented reason and Dionysus represented emotion. Those who knew Maradona understand that he was the worst of Apollo, but the best of Dionysus.” — Luciano de Crescenzo

“Maradona is a Neopolitan. The fact that he was born in Argentina doesn’t mean a thing. Those who knew Maradona know that he was born in Naples.” — Luciano de Crescenzo

“People often ask me who was better, Maradona or Pele, but you can’t compare the two. Pele scored goals, Maradona created them. Of course Maradona scored goals as well but he created so many, not just with his passes, but by creating space for other players because the opposition would often put two or three players on him. His greatest moment came in the 1986 World Cup – people in England talk about the ‘Hand of God’ goal but his second was probably the best goal ever at a World Cup.” — Ossie Ardiles

“The greatest player ever. I played with him when he burst onto the international scene as a teenager but we’d all heard about him long before that. Phenomenally talented; just training with him was a joy.” — Ricky Villa

“Technically, he was the most perfect player in the history of football.” — Jorge Valdano

“Maradona had such power that he could influence a match just by his presence, which would would destabilize our opponents.” — Jorge Valdano

“1986 was his finest hour, where he showed everything he had.” — Jorge Valdano

“It’s very difficult to be Maradona. The pressure he lives under, no one in the history of football has had to go through that.” — Jorge Valdano

“He put everything into his preparations for that World Cup (1986). We thought we had a very big player in our squad, but we never imagined that his power and influence would take us as far as it did.” — Jorge Valdano

“That moment had a great symbolic value for us and Maradona was transformed into this great patriotic leader, comparable to the national heroes of our independence.” — Jorge Valdano (about beating England in 1986)

“At first, I went along with him out of a sense of responsibility, but then I realised I was just one more spectator. I didn’t feel there was anything I could do. It was his goal and had nothing to do with the team. It was Diego’s personal adventure, one that was totally spectacular.” — Jorge Valdano, about Maradona’s Goal of the Century against England

“Diego apologised to me after he scored the second goal against England. He could see me unmarked at the far post the whole way but he couldn’t find a gap to get the ball to me. The fact is I felt offended. It was an insult to my profession. I mean, even on a run like that he still has the time to look up and see me. As a player I was nothing compared to him. He was incredible.” — Jorge Valdano

As he dribbled past half a team and the goalkeeper, slotting the ball home in the greatest moment of his career, Maradona cemented his legacy as the greatest ever to have lived.
As he dribbled past half a team and the goalkeeper, slotting the ball home in the greatest moment of his career, Maradona cemented his legacy as the greatest ever to have lived.

“Diego is someone many people want to imitate – a controversial figure, both loved and loathed, and someone who provokes huge debate, especially in Argentina. In Mexico (in 1986), we had to stop him from training, otherwise he would have been at it day and night. Bilardo wouldn’t let him, as he said the altitude would take too much out of him. So the only conflict we had with Diego at that World Cup was with him wanting to do extra training.” — Jorge Valdano

“Maradona offered to the Argentines a way out of their collective frustration, and that’s why people love him. There is a divine figure.” — Jorge Valdano

“Maradona defines Argentina [ . . . ]. He is a legend.” — Jorge Valdano

“Beyond everything else, no ball ever had a better experience than when it was at his left foot.” — Jorge Valdano

“Everyone has an opinion on Diego Armando Maradona, and that’s been the case since his playing days. His magnificent performances and extraordinary goals at Mexico 86 will live forever in the memories of all football lovers, myself included. My most vivid recollection is of this incredibly gifted kid at the second FIFA U-20 World Cup in Japan in 1979. He left everyone open-mouthed every time he got on the ball. And at the age of 50 he still has many years in which to keep showing us his talent.” — Sepp Blatter

“Some say Pele was the greatest player of all time, but not me. Maradona will always be the greatest. He won World Cup in 1986, narrowly lost in the final in 1990 and then in 1994 maybe would have won it again had he not been banned. The crucial difference with Pele is that Maradona wasn’t surrounded by great players; he had to carry the team himself. If you took Maradona out of Argentina they would not win the World Cup, but I think Brazil without Pele would still have won.”Eric Cantona

“The best of the lot, no question. In my generation, my era, he was simply the best. I saw Maradona do things that God himself would doubt were possible. He always had someone marking him, he always had someone hanging on to him, and yet he could still always conjure up wonderful pieces of magic. A genius.” — Zico

“[ . . . ] he left his mark on me, on my mind, especially in 1986 because he was sensational at that time. [ . . . ] It’s really at that moment that I became aware of the player he was, making differences as he did. He won games single-handedly. That’s the extra thing he had over the other players. In 1986, he was on another level.” Zinedine Zidane

“He’s definitely the best player there’s ever been in my eyes. He had pace, great skill and an unbelievable desire to win.” Wayne Rooney

“The best player I’ve ever played against, miles ahead of anyone else. As you saw in the World Cup quarter-final in 1986, I just couldn’t get near him – all I ever saw was his number 10! He had a low centre of gravity that shielded the ball, he had strength, pace and his passing was excellent. He also had a great leap for such a small man, as he showed with his Hand of God goal!” — Terry Butcher

“He was the greatest player I’ve ever played against. He was a phenomenal player, strong, he knew when the tackles were coming in, he could ride them. He was the perfect player, really. He led his country to World Cup glory, he took a lot of stick when he played, he was the one everybody targeted, he would scores goals but also lay goals on. He was an inspirational figure, and the whole Argentinian team looked to him. He’s the one that carried the country.” — Terry Butcher

“For Maradona to win a World Cup on his own, and let’s face it, that’s what he did as the rest of the team were ordinary, was an amazing achievement. He was the best player I’ve seen.” — Glenn Hoddle

“He was head and shoulders above everyone else I’ve ever seen. I once played in a Rest of the World game, and Maradona was out on the pitch doing these tricks and all these great players – Zico, Platini, Elkjaer – were standing there with their mouths open. He was keeping it up by whacking the ball up 50 yards into the air and not moving. Which is impossible. And the goal he scored against us – not the punchy one but the second one – on a pitch that was unplayable, was incredible.” — Gary Lineker

On the path to immortality.
On the path to immortality.

“When Diego scored that second goal against us, I felt like applauding. I’d never felt like that before, but it’s true… and not just because it was such an important game. It was impossible to score such a beautiful goal. He’s the greatest player of all time, by a long way. A genuine phenomenon.” — Gary Lineker

Watch the goal using the link below. You will have seen it dozens of times before, but it bears repeated viewing like no other goal in history. The ability of Diego Maradona to produce such moments that would grab you by the scruff of the neck and demand nothing but complete and unwavering admiration for his genius transcended nationality and language, religion and political stance. Maradona truly was the greatest revolutionary in the game.

“I was always a big admirer of Diego Maradona. I think as player he was an artist who had an incredible talent and for a long time he was the best player in the world.” — Jurgen Klinsmann

“The impressive thing about Maradona was his ability with the ball. He was very skillful and had great vision.” — Pele

“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. He could control the ball without looking, which meant if the pass was on, he would take it.” Ruud Gullit

“Diego Maradona was the best by far. [ . . . ] for me he is the greatest player of all time.” — Rudi Voller

A stunning image of Maradona from the 1982 World Cup. Read about this photograph here: goo.gl/K3ojrD
A stunning image of Maradona from the 1982 World Cup. Read about this photograph here: goo.gl/K3ojrD

“The best player I’ve seen in my life. He did things that didn’t seem humanly possible. When he was on top of his game, and even without training that much he was always in form, he was simply impossible to control. He decided matches alone, carrying average teams like Napoli, and Argentina in 1986, to glorious achievements. A genius.” Marcel Desailly

“Maradona (is) the fastest player I’ve ever seen running with the ball, and he kept it perfectly under control. His pace was absolutely frightening, you just couldn’t stop him. And he always got himself into positions where he could score.” Sir Bobby Charlton

“I was very lucky to be his team-mate and get to play with him as well as watch him train every day. The things he did! He was and will always be unique. Off the pitch, I always liked his simplicity. He was Maradona, yet with the team, he seemed just like an ordinary lad like the rest of us. He didn’t behave at all like a football star.” — Gianfranco Zola

“He was the best striker in the world and I was so lucky to have played with him. Some of the things he used to do you couldn’t even dream about. It was absurd.” — Gianfranco Zola

“I’ve never seen anyone else do the things he could do.” — Gianfranco Zola

“I was totally aware of the genius of Maradona. In those years, all the best players in the world were in Italy, so I could see Maradona versus the other very big players – Van Basten, Gullit, Matthuas – all of the top players in the world, and you can trust me the difference between Maradona and those players was visible. You could see it.” — Gianfranco Zola

“The greatest player of all time, in my opinion. I’ve never seen anyone do what Maradona can do. Did he scare defenders? He scared absolutely everybody! You couldn’t play against him. You couldn’t stop him, because he was so strong and so quick. He had awareness, and he could pass. He could do everything.” — John Barnes

“He was just head and shoulders above anyone else in the world, ever as far as I’m concerned. You just can’t stop Diego Maradona.” — John Barnes

“I was just mesmerized watching him play, just transfixed.” — John Barnes (about watching Maradona during the 1986 World Cup game against England)

“Maradona was a fantastic player. [ . . . ] Very fast, good dribbling, personality, good free kicks and high speed in the first 25 metres with the ball, not just without the ball, which is important.” — Lotthar Matthaus

“He was the best player I ever played against.” — Lotthar Matthaus

“Diego was capable of things no one else could match. The things I could do with a football, he could do with an orange.” — Michel Platini

Note: there seem to be differing versions of the “Maradona and the orange” quote by Platini; one other popular version is this: “What Zidane could do with a ball, Maradona could do with an orange.”

“Diego, for all Argentinians, is God. And he always will be.” — Carlos Tevez

“The goal against the English was amazing. It was something only a genius could do.” — Carlos Tevez

“With him on the ball, you didn’t know where he finished and where the ball started.” Jose Mourinho

“For my generation, Maradona is the greatest player we’ve seen and I don’t believe that will ever change.” Pep Guardiola

“With Maradona you never knew exactly what you were going to get – quite simply one of the all-time greats. He was brilliant in whatever team he played for and could – and did – single-handedly turn games round. He was a born improviser.” — Emmanuel Petit

“There’s only one word for this man: genius. What he was able to do with a ball was not football, it was art. He was one of the best players ever seen. I also met him when he was only 21 and even then, I was shocked to see the level of the play he had.” — Gheorghe Hagi

“Maradona is a God to the people of Naples. Maradona 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, two Italian Cups. I’m a fan too and to live those years with Maradona was incredible. Being on the pitch when they won the Scudetto was amazing.” — Fabio Cannavaro

Maradona joined a Napoli side on the brink of relegation and single-handedly transformed it into a title-winning juggernaut on both the domestic and European fronts.
Maradona joined a Napoli side on the brink of relegation and single-handedly transformed it into a title-winning juggernaut on both the domestic and European fronts. Only Maradona could have done this.

“Maradona is the best opponent I’ve ever played against in my career.” Paolo Maldini

“The greatest player I’ve ever seen, way ahead of everyone else, including [Michel] Platini, [Karl-Heinz] Rummenigge and the rest. Maradona was a cut above.” — Paolo Maldini

“Maradona; when he was on form, there was almost no way of stopping him.” Franco Baresi

“He was dangerous, he used to score against us often. We had to be very well organised; put pressure on him, doubling up, tripling up even to limit his talents. Because if it was one-on-one, you’d lose.” — Franco Baresi

“The number one: one of the best players in football history. He demonstrated with both Argentina and Napoli that a genius always wins. He could even play alone and win.” — Franco Baresi

“I want to salute Diego Maradona because for me he has been, and always will be, football.” Francesco Totti

“He was operating on a different level to most people.” Steven Gerrard

“Pele’s my idol but I saw Maradona play. There’s no question in my mind that he’s the number one. He might have had his faults but he’s shown on the pitch what real football is all about. My dream is to play with him one day, if only for a few minutes. I learned a lot just by watching him play.” — Roberto Carlos

“A genius, a real artist, one of the greatest players in the world. He could win a match on his own. On his own.” — Sir Bobby Robson

“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.” Lionel Messi

“If anyone inspired me, it was undoubtedly (Maradona).” — Lionel Messi

“There will never be anyone like Maradona again, not even if Messi wins three World Cups in succession or scores a bicycle kick from midfield.” — Hector Enrique

“Diego was an example to everyone, not just in terms of his quality, but also for his commitment. He was the first to tackle and dive in when we lost possession, so how could we not do the same? He was contagious. When it came to his play, however, trying to imitate him was impossible.” — Hector Enrique

“The best of all time? Maradona. I admired him in the World Cups of 1986 and 1990 and the arc of his career. Today there are so many strong players such as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, but the things I have seen Maradona do I have not ever seen anyone else achieve in football history.” Ryan Giggs (2011)

“Diego Maradona was special [ . . . ]. I always enjoyed watfching him, including everything he did even before the matches. He was the most playful; the one I liked the most in that sense of playing with the ball. Maradona could dribble at speed towards the goal. He  had such a different technique from everyone else.” Ronaldinho

“The best of all time, for me. Maradona was doing things that the rest were not able to do. Winning that World Cup in ’86 was unique, the only time you can see a national team winning a World Cup practically because of one player.” — Gus Poyet

“He was my footballing hero. When I was young I tried to do the moves and score the goals he scored at Mexico 86. I’ve never admired any player as much as him.” — Raul Gonzalez

“In my eyes he is the best footballer ever. He is one of my heroes, if not the shining beacon when I was a kid. I had all his videos. He was the player everyone wanted to be. He was the best. He was my idol and part of the reason why I started to play football. I can’t hold him in higher esteem than that.” Rio Ferdinand (2008)

“It is arguable who is the best player in the world but without a doubt, he is in the best two or three.” Sir Alex Ferguson

“He’s given us a lot of entertainment, to me personally and to everyone who loves good football. I’m a fan of Maradona’s and I’ll remain one till the end of time.” — Carlos Valderrama

“He had complete mastery of the ball. When Maradona ran with the ball or dribbled through the defence, he seemed to have the ball tied to his boots. I remember our early training sessions with him: the rest of the team were so amazed that they just stood and watched him. We all thought ourselves privileged to be witnesses of his genius.” — Jose Carrasco (former Barcelona team-mate)

Diego Maradona 1984

“In training you could see the real Maradona, and it was quite a spectacle. He never lost a practice match.” — Francesco Romano

“He did things with tremendous ease. He made you feel incredibly small because he had such fantastic skills.” — Francesco Romano

“I’ve never seen such things. In training, during warmups, I’ve never seen anyone else do those things. Unfortunately what us team-mates saw the crowd couldn’t see. [ . . . ] You realize that what you saw during the week was unrepeatable.” — Francesco Romano

“Instead of feet, well, he had hands.” — Francesco Romano

“Diego certainly had this peculiarity that he never complained about a tackle or a bad foul against him.” — Ciro Ferrara

“He was very acrobatic. Maybe it was his height, but he was able to move in small spaces and still do some spectacular stuff.” — Ciro Ferrara

“I’ve seen him play with the outside of his foot, instep, inner part of his foot, the backheel, the rabona, the bicycle kick. I’ve seen him do everything, every possible play imaginable, even the tunnel between the other player’s legs.” — Ciro Ferrara

“Maradona was and continues to be the best player in the world. A player capable of doing anything on the pitch.” — Jose Antonio Camacho (2014)

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7 thoughts on “Quotes on: Diego Maradona

  1. maradona remain the greatest , messi pele and the rest may break records and stats but not maradona influence power and briliance when he was in prime. gereeting from borneo island

    Like

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