Diego Armando Maradona is the only player to appear sixteen times as the captain of a World Cup team, which in itself is a World Cup record.
Diego Armando Maradona was born on October 30, 1961, in Villa Fiorito, Argentina. During his childhood in the slums of Villa Fiorito outside Buenos Aires, Maradona dreamed of becoming a great soccer player. His family was poor. His father, a bricklayer and factory worker, struggled to provide for three boys, five girls, and his stay-at-home wife.
Poverty was not a deterrent to success, however. Maradona was given his first soccer ball by his cousin, Beto Zarate, on his third birthday. Young Diego slept with the ball that night. By the age of nine, he had learned to play soccer, and came to the attention of Francis Cornejo, coach of the Cebollitas or Little Onions—the youth team of Argentinos Jrs.
While he was with the Little Onions, they won 140 straight games. In 1972, he led Los Cebollitas to a junior championship. The team gave him a high compliment— jersey number 10—the same number worn by the legendary soccer star, Pele. From 1976 to 1980, the teenage Maradona played for Argentinos Juniors.
Before the end of the first season, the team became Maradona’s team, and the stadiums were always full. The Argentinos Juniors were winning against the best teams, and his future looked limitless.
Excellent dribbling action, powerful assists, accurate passes, and impressive footwork made Diego Maradona rise up to the ranks, within a short period, to become the greatest football player of all time. Argentina’s national hero and pride, this exceptionally talented young man were born to play the sport.
His compact physique and great physical strength gave him the edge over other players and helped him achieve the pinnacle of success. In a career spanning over 21 years, he rose from being an inexperienced club player to the most coveted soccer player.
He scored 34 goals in 91 international appearances. It was through his sheer display of brilliance on the field that he was awarded the FIFA Player of the 20th Century award. He is the only player to appear sixteen times as the captain of a World Cup team, which in itself is a World Cup record.