Dont cry for me Argentina
Added 2006 Apr 30, 11:53 by Admin
Maradona -  Young.jpg
Profile: 06.04.2006 by Igor Krstic

“It was 1973. The juvenile teams of Argentinos Juniors and river Plate faced off in Buenos Aires. Number 10 for Argentinos received the ball from his keeper and took off. Several players tried to block his path: he put it over the first one’s tail, between the legs of the second, and he fooled the third with a backheel. Then he paralyzed the defenders, left the keeper sprawled on the ground, and walked the ball into the net. On the field stood 7 crushed boys and four more with their mouths wide open.” (Eduardo Galeano. Soccer in Sun and Shadow)

The Myth: The Goal of the Century

This was the beginning of the Argentinean myth … this was Diego Armando Maradona, who was 12 years of age and had just scored this incredible goal. The description by the famous Uruguayan journalist Eduardo Galeano reminds a little on a goal, Maradona scored 13 years later at the World Cup 1986 in Mexico, only that this time there were 7 crushed English professionals standing on the pitch and millions around the globe staring on the TV screen with their mouths wide open. Another 16 years later, at the beginning of the 21st century, football lovers and experts worldwide agreed, that this goal was the best scored ever in the history of modern football. Nowadays it is almost impossible to talk about this little Argentine wizard of football without slipping into the language of mythology and legends. The story begins like almost all legends do - with a little boy from a poor neighbourhood. The boy called Diego grew up in the southern outskirts of Buenos Aires, before he was spotted by a talent scout of the Buenos Aires side Argentinos Juniors at the age of 10. Five years later in 1975 he already made his debut for the first team. At the age of 16 he debuted in the Argentina national football team and with 18 he played at the Football World Youth Championship and became the star of the tournament. In 1986, Maradona was already the undisputed best player in the world, when he played for SSC Napoli, where he became an adored star, bringing this rather mediocre team to its most successful era. The 1986 World Cup in Mexico was the one and only World Cup to be dominated by one single player. His rise to the realm of legends and myths however, was cemented in the Quartefinal game against England, when he scored two goals, which are probably the most shown and re-played ever. The first goal was scored with the aid of his hand and Maradona later famously claimed: "A little of the hand of God, and a little of the head of Maradona”. The second goal though surely belongs to the most incredible football displays ever seen: a slalom covering half the length of the pitch, passing 6 English players and the goalkeeper Peter Shilton, running in full speed and paralyzing half of the opponents team with his technical skills.

What was before and what came after? Don’t cry Argentina

It is probably unfair and one-sided to reduce the historical legacy of one of the most successful football nations to one single player. Argentina won the World Cup also in 1978 with another legendary team, headed by the incredible striker Mario Kempes and coach César Luis Menotti, who was nicknamed “el flaco” (“the skinny guy”). The victorious team, which won the finals against Johan Cruyf’s Holland with 3:1 consisted of players such as Fillol, Olguín, Galvan, Passarella, Tarantini; Ardiles, Gallego, Valencia; Houseman and Luque. But the 1978 World Cup in Argentina was overshadowed by unfortunate political circumstances. In March 1976 a right-winged and oppressive military dictatorship (in Argentina it is simply known as "the Junta") was established. The regime shut down the legislative branch and abolished freedom of the press and freedom of speech, adopting a severe media censorship. The 1978 World Cup was therefore mainly used as a means of propaganda and to appease the citizens and belongs therefore to one of the rather dark moments of World Cup history, despite a brilliant Argentine team, which deservedly won the Cup. The 1990 World Cup in Italy was another fine display by Maradona, although the 30 year old didn’t play on the peak of his outstanding capabilities. “El Diego” nevertheless managed to bring his team into the finals, where they lost to Germany with 1:0. In the 1990’s an era was coming to an end and the Argentines surely “cried” about their little hero disappearing from the World stage, due to age, drugs and personal problems…

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