Iain Hepburn | September 3, 2012
The life and times of Diego Maradona took another twist yesterday, when he joined forces with the Dubai Sports Council to become the city’s ‘honorary ambassador for sports’.
It’s been a rollercoaster life and career for the diminutive World Cup star, so here’s our pick of the five key moments in his past.
1986: The Hand of God
The not-quite-legal first goal that he handled, in addition to his long run for a second (later voted the Goal of the Century), secured a 2-1 victory for Argentina over England in the World CUp quarter-final in Mexico, and confirmed Maradon’a status as the most gifted and wily footballer on the planet.
1994: The World Cup exit
Maradona was sent home form the World Cup in the United States after testing positive for the stimulant ephedrine.
The episode made clear the footballing icon’s issues with illicit substances, following his 15-month ban for cocaine use in 1991.
It also presaged serious health problems, as well as stints in drug rehabilitation.
2010: The International Manager
A surprise choice to take over the national team, Maradona made his bow as international boss in 2008 against Scotland – the side against whom he had scored his first interantional goal as a teenager – and guided Argentina through a fraught qualifying campaign for the World Cup in South Africa – including a 6-1 defeat to Bolivia.
At the World Cup Argentina made it to the quarter-finals, only to be crushed 4-0 by Germany. The last eight was impressive for a relatively untested manager, but he was dismissed by the Argentine federation a few weeks later.
2011: Pro League manager
Maradona was hired by the Dubai club Al Wasl in May 2011, and the 2011/12 campaign was his first full season as a club coach.
Wasl were in the top half of the league at the halfway point, but faded and failed to win a trophy.
He was dismissed after a shock defeat by the Bahrain side Al Muharraq in the GCC Champions League final.
2012: The Ambassador
After a drawn-out summer in which he was rumoured to be among the contenders for several coaching jobs, he surprised many b agreeing a contract to become an “honorary ambassador” for the Dubai Sports Council. His task: “to develop and promote sports in Dubai as a lifestyle choice”.