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One Hundred to Zero in a Lifetime

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Thomas Mazza

Mrs. Peterson

English 2 Seminar

15 May 2017

One hundred to zero in a lifetime

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.

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