Tottenham fans got to see Gareth Bale don the famous shirt once more in Sunday's Premier League clash with West Ham.

The Wales star came off the bench at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for his first appearance in England's top flight since May 2013, but it proved a frustrating outing.

From 3-0 up when Bale was introduced in the 72nd minute, Tottenham were pegged back as the game finished in a 3-3 draw.

The 31-year-old, who previously played for Spurs between 2007 and 2013, joined Jose Mourinho's side on loan from Real Madrid after winning four Champions Leagues with Los Blancos.

Bale had only 25 goal involvements (17 goals, eight assists) across his final two seasons with Madrid, having managed 61 (38 goals, 23 assists) in his last two campaigns with Tottenham.

Players returning to clubs where they enjoyed great success is nothing new, but are the second acts ever as good as those we witness first?

DIEGO MARADONA - BOCA JUNIORS

One of the world's greatest players, Maradona completed a dream transfer from Argentinos Juniors to Boca in 1981, going on to score 28 times in 40 league games for the club he supported as a boy. With the lure of Europe, a world-record transfer to Barcelona followed, but Maradona finished his career back in Argentina with Boca. However, by that point he was a shadow of his former self, scoring just seven times in 30 appearances from 1995 to 1997.

Key stat: Maradona played in 10 Primera Division seasons in his home country, though he would win just one piece of silverware - the 1981 Metropolitano - in his first stint at Boca.

ROBBIE FOWLER - LIVERPOOL

Known as 'God' at Anfield, Fowler was the homegrown hero who led the line for the Reds for much of the 1990s. He was sold to Leeds United in 2001, having had a difficult relationship with manager Gerard Houllier, who preferred Michael Owen and Emile Heskey in attack. After a spell at Manchester City, Fowler returned to Liverpool on a free in 2006, but the three league goals he scored in 2006-07 were all penalties.

Key stat: Fowler remains Liverpool's all-time leading scorer in the Premier League having netted 128 times in 266 games.

WAYNE ROONEY - EVERTON

Another talented Merseyside youngster, Rooney made a memorable breakthrough at Everton with a brilliant winner against Arsenal in 2002, though his relationship with fans of his boyhood club soured when he joined Manchester United, for whom he became the club's record scorer. Relations thawed over time and Rooney came 'home' for 2017-18 - but he was often deployed in a deeper midfield position in his second spell.

Key stat: Rooney scored 10 times in the Premier League during his second stint at Goodison Park - the only time he reached double figures for Everton in a league campaign.

KAKA - MILAN

The Brazilian enjoyed a fruitful six years at San Siro, winning the 2007 Ballon d'Or, a Serie A title and a Champions League while scoring 70 goals and providing 48 assists in 193 league games. Kaka never truly hit those heights again as a Real Madrid Galactico and returned to Milan for 2013-14, though he was unable to rediscover his magic.

Key stat: The forward averaged a goal involvement every 131 minutes in his initial spell with Milan, but that fell to 219 minutes second time around.

MARIO GOTZE - BORUSSIA DORTMUND

A product of BVB's youth academy, Gotze, like his team-mates Robert Lewandowski and Mats Hummels, was eventually lured to rivals Bayern Munich. The midfielder, who scored the winning goal for Germany in the 2014 World Cup final, struggled at times for form and fitness during three seasons with Bayern and that continued back at Dortmund, where he spent four more seasons before leaving earlier this year. Gotze has since joined Dutch giants PSV.

Key stat: Gotze scored 22 goals at a rate of one every 263 minutes in his first four-season spell with Dortmund. During his second stint, he scored 13 at a rate of one every 351 minutes.

ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC - MILAN

Of course it is the enigmatic Swede who proves things can be just as good second time around. Ibrahimovic enjoyed a brilliant two-season run at Milan between 2010 and 2012 - scoring 42 times and providing 17 assists in 61 Serie A games. Ibrahimovic returned to Milan in January and, in 20 Serie A games so far, he has scored 14 goals and assisted five more.

Key stat: Ibrahimovic's minutes-per-goal involvement stood at one every 91 minutes in his first Milan spell, and this time around on average he has played a part in a goal every 81.3 minutes.

It is Monday September 28, 1992, and Sevilla's Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan is the location of a media circus rarely seen before or since in the stadium. Bavarian giants Bayern Munich are in town for a hastily arranged friendly.

Aside from the two teams' meeting in the UEFA Super Cup on Thursday and a Champions League quarter-final tie in 2018, this friendly 28 years ago is the only previous occasion in which Sevilla faced their illustrious German visitors.

Yet, Bayern were not the focus of the media attention. No, they were there for the first game of Diego Maradona's return to Spain.

The world's most renowned footballer - formerly of Barcelona - was barely given enough space to take part in the coin toss such was the scrum around him, with microphones and cameras shoved towards his face with little regard by voracious reporters.

 

STILL THE BEST

Maradona, wearing the captain's armband, was making his comeback from a 15-month ban for cocaine use which ultimately ended his love affair with Napoli.

From midfield, the 31-year-old dictated the tempo and stretched Bayern's defence with his imaginative passing. He, Diego Simeone and Rafa Paz combined excellently in the middle, while an understanding with a young Davor Suker showed evidence of promise.

Maradona forced goalkeeper Raimond Aumann into a smart early save before hitting the crossbar with an audacious free-kick from near the corner flag.

Out of shape, unfit and without competitive football in over a year, Maradona was still the best player on the pitch, setting up Suker before also playing a key role in one of Monchu's goals. Sevilla won 3-1.

His weight was mocked by a banner depicting a Maradona caricature whose belly could not be contained by his jersey, but, his "cosmic barrel" physique aside, this was the same player who had astonished with Napoli and Argentina.

 

REUNITED AND IT FEELS SO GOOD

His move to Andalusia meant a reunion with Argentina's 1986 World Cup-winning coach – and close friend – Carlos Bilardo.

Bilardo called the signing a "gift", while Maradona said his "happiness is complete" upon arrival at Seville's San Pablo airport in a striking cerise suit – "I looked a treat," he concluded about his fashion sense.

Having lost Ivan Zamorano to Real Madrid, Sevilla president Luis Cuervas and vice-president Jose Maria del Nido will have been looking on, certain they had pulled off a masterstroke by getting Maradona in as a replacement, reportedly boosting season ticket subscriptions from 26,000 to 40,000.

His performances continued to excite in competitive games and he enjoyed what many consider to be his best display in Spain during an ill-tempered 2-0 win over Real Madrid on December 19.

Madrid, complete with the likes of Manolo Sanchis, Fernando Hierro, Michel and Luis Enrique, simply had no answer as Maradona ran the show. Everything was going as well as it could have, until things – somewhat inevitably – turned ugly in the second half of the season.

 

THE FALLOUT

A dispute over El Diego's juggling of international and club commitments saw the two parties at loggerheads, but things got out of control late in the campaign.

After being given painkilling injections against his will for a persistent injury caused by receiving a kick from an angry Venezuela fan in 1985, Maradona was withdrawn by Bilardo early in the second half of a 1-1 draw with Real Burgos and he blew his top.

"Bilardo, you m***********," he claimed to yell in his coach's direction, with the pair coming to blows a day later, as detailed in the troubled star's autobiography.

What made the situation worse for Maradona was Sevilla's chiefs revealed to him just a few days earlier their plan to offer him a player-coach role after ditching Bilardo. They received a stern refusal in reply, with El Diego not about to betray his friend, but he ultimately felt as though such loyalty was not reciprocated.

Everyone wanted out of the marriage, and Del Nido's public comments about Maradona's fitness proved the final straw.

"That's probably why that w***** Del Nido dared to say I wasn't even fit enough to play table tennis; to make me leave," Maradona wrote in his autobiography. "He knew I wouldn't put up with that kind of stuff. And that's how it happened, that was how my story with Sevilla ended. Badly."

Maradona then missed out on £625,000 worth of unpaid wages as Sevilla withheld payment because he had "not met obligations to the club", bringing a bitter close to a chapter which had promised so much on a thrilling evening against Bayern.

Andrea Pirlo was untouchable at the height of his playing career, a footballer whose grace and prowling presence drew widespread admiration and struck fear into rival teams.

As a coach, we can surmise but really it is a guessing game as to what we will be getting from Pirlo as the dugout rookie leads Juventus into the 2020-21 season.

On Sunday evening in Italy, the man who was a World Cup winner in 2006 takes charge of his first Serie A game with Juve, who play Sampdoria in Turin.

Maurizio Sarri's Juve reign lasted just one season, albeit another Scudetto-yielding campaign for the most successful club in the league's history. Pirlo will be expected to deliver at least that level of success, and encourage a swagger too.

He joins a host of significant former players plucked for leadership roles at an elite level, typically on a hunch rooted in familiarity, the chosen ones often still fresh from their playing days and with scant experience to call on. Top marks in coaching exams provide no guarantee that success will follow.

Many times, the gamble on a colt coach has paid off, with presidents and owners rightly sensing the novice harbours the innate expertise to lead and to inspire, and crucially to bring results. On other occasions, it has ended in frustration and tears, and in some instances the jury remains out.

Here is a look at just some of those cases, illustrating how there are no guarantees attached to such appointments.

PEP GUARDIOLA

The go-to example for any club that wishes to justify appointing a club legend to sudden seniority on the coaching side, former midfield general Guardiola was just 37 when he took charge at Barcelona in 2008, after a year coaching the B team. He departed four years and 14 trophies later, including three LaLiga titles and two Champions League triumphs, and was vaunted as the world's best coach.

Further successes have come with Bayern Munich and Manchester City. Plainly, Pep was born to lead and Barcelona were wise to the fact.

ZINEDINE ZIDANE

How would Zidane, the mercurial playmaker – the only rival to Brazil striker Ronaldo when assessing the greatest player of their generation – take to coaching? Could the erstwhile Galactico tease out the best from those who can but dream of matching the twinkling feet and god-gifted balance with which he was blessed? Could the former Real Madrid maestro really be a suitable fit for the Bernabeu job that has swallowed up many an experienced coach?

Three Champions Leagues and two LaLiga titles later, we probably have a decent idea of the answer to those questions. There have still been ups and downs, and a brief split along the way, but 18 months in charge of Madrid's B team – Castilla – hardened Zidane for the obstacles he would face in the top job. His Madrid sides have at times lacked the verve that was his signature as a player, but they have delivered results and abundant trophies, and ultimately that is what counts.

MICHEL PLATINI

Before there was Zidane, France had Platini. A wonder of an attacking midfielder with Nancy, Saint-Etienne and Juventus, Platini was also a goalscoring titan of the France team that won Euro 84 and reached semi-finals at the 1982 and 1986 World Cups. It followed, to those that knew him, that Platini would go on to become a great national-team coach too, and at the age of 33 he was appointed to lead France, having retired as a player a year earlier. Platini took over with France already at a low ebb and defeats under his charge against Yugoslavia and Scotland meant they missed out on reaching the 1990 World Cup.

Could Platini bounce back? It seemed he might when France reached Euro 92 in style, with eight wins from eight qualifiers, Platini nurturing the likes of Didier Deschamps and Laurent Blanc, but Les Bleus flopped at the tournament itself as they and England bowed out of a group from which Sweden and Denmark advanced. Platini resigned not long afterwards, began to forge a solid reputation in football administration, and by the late 1990s had built a strong, ultimately fateful, alliance with the then FIFA secretary general Sepp Blatter. He would never coach again.

DIEGO MARADONA

If there were ever a case of being blinded by celebrity, then some of the presidents who have given Diego Armando Maradona coaching work surely have fallen victim. The biggest star of his generation, Maradona retired from playing in 1997 and, with barely a sniff of coaching experience and just about as much baggage as an airport carousel, was named boss of his native Argentina in 2008, tasked with taking the Albicelestes to the World Cup two years later. Argentina scraped their way into the finals and were thumped 4-0 by Germany in the quarter-finals. Maradona's contract was not renewed.

He has continued to pick up coaching work, one curious-looking appointment after another, most recently with Gimnasia in the Argentinian top flight. Maradona the coach has been no match for Maradona the player, and it was naive surely for anyone to think that was ever remotely possible.

FRANK LAMPARD

Pirlo was an artist of the 21st century game, and he is considered a deep thinker, while the common theory is that English midfield counterpart Lampard achieved much of his success through hard graft and maximising his rather more rudimentary talent. Whether either categorisation fits the bill is a moot point, but Lampard has a wiser head on his shoulders than many footballers, was top of the class in his school days, and his IQ is reputed to be through the roof.

Derby County gave him a first break in coaching but it took Chelsea just a year to pounce and parachute Lampard into his first Premier League manager's job. A Stamford Bridge great as a player, Lampard had an acceptable first season as Blues boss but the acid test comes in this new term after a spree of big-money signings. A high-stakes London gamble will play out in the coming months.

ALAN SHEARER

As Pirlo takes charge of those in the Bianconeri stripes he once wore – Cristiano Ronaldo and all – it bears remembering that returning black and white messiahs can fail. Former Newcastle United striker Shearer returned to St James' Park in April 2009, the club's record goalscorer aiming to rescue the team from the threat of relegation, but a dismal return of five points from eight games saw them sink out of the Premier League.

Shearer left and has not coached since, happily staying in his niche as a television pundit. There are pressures but also a certain comfort to that studio role. Two months at Newcastle was the sum of Shearer's coaching career: as Pirlo may yet find out, that can be all it takes to destroy the notion of it being a natural next step.

Lionel Messi could be on the brink of a seismic transfer away from Barcelona.

The 33-year-old has informed the club he wants to leave in a move that has stunned the football world.

Remarkably, he could walk away for nothing and would evidently have a free pick for his next destination.

In his long-running battle with Cristiano Ronaldo for GOAT status, Messi is often criticised for not having plied his trade outside of his Camp Nou comfort zone.

But could leaving the Catalan giants tarnish Messi's legacy? We look at how other legends who moved late in their careers have fared.

PELE

Having scored goals at a scarcely believable rate in his home country for Santos, the Brazilian legend moved to the North American Soccer League at the age of 34.

While his spell with New York Cosmos was not quite as prolific, the switch enhanced his status as a global superstar and earned Pele stacks of cash.

It has to be concluded that this late-career transfer was a shrewd move for the three-time World Cup winner.

 

DIEGO MARADONA

Okay, so Maradona's legacy was already somewhat corroded by his off-field antics and a lengthy ban after testing positive for cocaine.

But to return to Boca Juniors 13 years after departing for Barcelona was a threat to his legendary status at that club. Still, he took that risk at the age of 35 and added another chapter to his remarkable story.

Maradona's last game proved to be a Superclasico win over River Plate. A fitting finale indeed.

JOHAN CRUYFF

Angered by Ajax's decision not to offer him a contract extension at the end of the 1982-83 season, a 36-year-old Cruyff promptly signed for rivals Feyenoord.

He may have incurred the wrath of his former employers, but Cruyff's decision was a smart one as he starred alongside a young Ruud Gullit to help Feyenoord win the Eredivisie.

For a man who liked to do things his own way, this was a twilight-years move that truly paid dividends.

 

CRISTIANO RONALDO

Taking on new challenges has never held any fear for Ronaldo, but it is clear he did not join Juventus just to spearhead their continued dominance of Serie A.

He has won honours in Portugal, England, Spain, Italy and on the international stage, but it is the Champions League title he craves in Turin. It would be his sixth.

Nobody, save perhaps for the most ardent Messi fan, would argue that Ronaldo's career will have tailed off if he does not achieve that goal, but at 35 the clock is ticking on his last great mission.

 

ALFREDO DI STEFANO

An Argentinian forward leaves club where he is the greatest ever player after a humiliating defeat in Europe – sound familiar?

Di Stefano was offered a place on the Real Madrid coaching staff by president Santiago Bernabeu after the 3-1 European Cup final defeat to Inter in 1964. Already suffering a strained relationship with head coach Miguel Munoz, he opted to extend his playing career at Espanyol.

Two fairly underwhelming seasons battling against relegation followed, marking an underwhelming end to a stunning career.

Victor Osimhen can surpass the impact made by Diego Maradona at Napoli, according to Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) president Amaju Pinnick.

Osimhen is reportedly poised to leave Ligue 1 outfit Lille for Serie A's Napoli in a transfer believed to be worth an initial €60million.

The 21-year-old Nigeria star scored 13 Ligue 1 goals in his first season with Lille, and 18 across all competitions in 2019-20.

Pinnick heaped praise on Osimhen, talking up his ability to break records initially set by Argentine great Maradona – who led Napoli to two Serie A titles, the UEFA Cup, Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana during his time in Naples.

"I think Victor Osimhen is an excellent signing for Napoli," Pinnick told Radio Kiss Kiss. "I've followed them from when they had Diego Armando Maradona. Naples is a proud city and also in football terms.

"Osimhen's a source of pride of African football. He's someone who is disciplined but focused on objectives, and if he wants something, he knows how to get it.

"He made the right decision for his career. I already believe he’ll receive the right support from the club and its fans. Napoli are the right club for him to achieve important results, and Osimhen will always give his best.

"I'll say it now: Victor will do everything possible to match and even break the records set by a legend like Maradona."

"I talked to Victor just a few minutes ago: he's very excited about his new experience and new club," he added. "Napoli are a big name in world football. It'll be a new challenge for him and he told me: 'President, I'll make Naples proud'.

"If he gets the right support, I guarantee he'll stick to his word and make you all proud. Believe in him and he'll help the team achieve their objectives.

"I'll come to Naples next season to watch some of their games. Osimhen is young and could stay at Napoli for a long time.

"As I already said, he'll be playing for a great team and his quality justifies the investment made by Napoli, who believe in Victor's huge potential."

Dries Mertens moved clear of Marek Hamsik at the top of Napoli's all-time scoring list with his 122nd goal for the club on Saturday.

The Belgium international clinically finished a swift counter-attacking move to bring his side level at 1-1 in the second leg of their Coppa Italia semi-final against Inter.

His equaliser in the 41st minute, set up by Lorenzo Insigne's square pass, cancelled out Christian Eriksen's early opener at the San Paolo.

Mertens matched Hamsik's career tally of 121 for the Italian club with the only goal in the 1-1 Champions League draw with Barcelona on February 25.

The 32-year-old, who joined from PSV in 2013, is out of contract at the end of the season but is expected to sign a new deal to continue his career with Napoli.

Mertens passed Diego Maradona (115) to move into second spot on the list last year. His effort against Inter takes his tally for the season in all competitions to 13.

Diego Maradona has set aside speculation surrounding his future and signed a new one-year contract at Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata.

The Argentina great was appointed as Gimnasia's head coach in September, although he briefly departed in November and returned two days later.

Maradona was out of contract at the end of the season and the prospect of his return to the Primera Division club appeared remote, as the two parties reportedly failed to come to an agreement on a deal at the start of the week.

However, Gimnasia, celebrating their 133rd birthday on Wednesday, confirmed news of his renewal until 2021.

The club posted on Twitter: "You are known as Pelusa, Barrilete Cosmico, God, Diego, Diegote, capitan...

"But for us, you are one more Tripero and your heart is already as blue and white as ours."

Maradona had earlier hinted at an agreement as he congratulated Gimnasia on their anniversary on his Instagram page.

"Today is El Lobo's birthday," he wrote. "Congratulations to @Gimnasia_Oficial and a hug to your WONDERFUL fans!!!

"My heart is blue and white. Let's go for more!!!"

The Primera Division season was ended prematurely in April due to the coronavirus pandemic, with relegation suspended for two years.

Gimnasia were 19th in the 24-team division when the campaign was brought to a close.

Lionel Messi plays "different football to the others" and outranks Diego Maradona, Brazilian great Ronaldo and even US basketball superstar Michael Jordan in the sporting pantheon, according to Robert Prosinecki.

Barcelona and Argentina maestro Messi is "surely" the best footballer of all time, former Real Madrid and Barca playmaker Prosinecki claimed.

Prosinecki said in an interview with Stats Perform News that Messi, who has scored over 600 goals for Barcelona, still finishes top of the pile when the career of Chicago Bulls legend and six-time NBA champion Jordan is taken into account.

"It is different, basketball and football. But Messi is surely for me the best," said Prosinecki.

"He is a player who has made differences for many years in Barcelona. He has won everything he could win. He scored many goals and assisted many times too. He plays different football to the others."

Former Croatia midfield marauder Prosinecki knows some still look to Messi's fellow Argentinian Maradona when judging the greats, as well as two-time World Cup winner Ronaldo.

Prosinecki and Ronaldo were briefly team-mates at Camp Nou.

"Maybe some people will say Maradona, Ronaldo... I don't know," Prosinecki said. "There have been amazing players. They are from two different eras. For me he [Messi] is the best one."

According to Prosinecki's verdict, Messi and Brazilian Ronaldo are players that have shown themselves capable and willing to take on teams single-handedly.

"They are different to others. Ronaldo is surely one of the best," Prosinecki said.

"Some people would say Cristiano Ronaldo, but [Brazilian Ronaldo] didn't just play at Barcelona.

"He also had some amazing seasons at Inter. He used to beat rivals almost himself alone. Incredible. They are players who make differences. At Real Madrid too. Where didn't he perform?

"For sure he was a great player. However, if I have to say one, for me the best is Leo Messi."

Diego Maradona is the greatest of all time, not Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi, according to Fabio Cannavaro.

Maradona and Messi are both regarded as two of the greatest players and the Argentine duo's standing atop football's history is often debated.

Messi is a record six-time Ballon d'Or winner but former Italy defender Cannavaro believes 1986 World Cup champion Maradona is the greatest.

"I respect Messi a lot. For the new generation he is one of the best, but Maradona is different because the football was different," Cannavaro – now head coach of Chinese Super League giants Guangzhou Evergrande after captaining Italy to World Cup glory in 2006 – told Sky Sports.

"They kicked him a lot, but he was always in control and he was tough.

"Messi is top, but Maradona is another world. I never compare him with other players. I never saw Pele, but I watched Maradona, for seven years I saw every game.

"He's not one of the best, he's the best."

Maradona won silverware at Barcelona, helping the Spanish giants to Copa del Rey, Copa de la Liga and Supercopa de Espana glory.

The 59-year-old then went on to become an icon with Napoli, where he won two Serie A titles, as well as UEFA Cup, Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana.

Messi has won 10 LaLiga crowns and four Champions League titles among other honours at Barcelona, though he has not tasted senior success with Argentina.

Diego Maradona was "pure art" and Lionel Messi is "a Speedy Gonzales", according to Argentina assistant coach Roberto Ayala.

Ayala played alongside Maradona at the start of his career and in his twilight years lined up with Messi.

The former Napoli, Milan and Valencia centre-back believes there are significant differences between the two players widely regarded as the best to have come out of Argentina.

"I played with both of them, with Diego I was taking my first steps. They are two footballing giants, and when he retires, Messi will be remembered," Ayala told FOX Sports.

"I don't know if it'll be like Diego, it doesn't matter. They are different. Diego was pure art in all his mannerisms, Messi a Speedy Gonzales who carries the ball two centimetres from his foot."

Messi's failure to win a senior international title with Argentina often counts against him when he is compared to Maradona, who spearheaded the country's success at the 1986 World Cup.

Barcelona star Messi has suffered defeat in four finals – three at the Copa America and the 2014 World Cup – but Ayala is confident he can be successful with Argentina.

Ayala has been impressed by the six-time Ballon d'Or winner's humility in the national team set-up.

"I hope that he gives us his footballing level, that he makes us grow as a team. Having a team with him, not of him," said Ayala.

"He wants to be treated like this, like just one more. We told the players, 'He will not be treated differently by us. You all have to step up, do what you do for your clubs, and he will help you. You have to take advantage of that.'"

It is almost a guarantee that whenever the name Diego Armando Maradona is spoken it will be in discussion about who is the greatest football player of all time. He was one of the two joint winners of the FIFA Player of the 20th Century award.

Maradona's vision, passing, ball control and dribbling skills combined with his small stature (1.65 m or 5 ft 5 in), giving him a low centre of gravity and allowing him to manoeuvre better than most other football players. He would often dribble past multiple opposing players on a run.

His presence and leadership on the field had a great effect on his team's general performance, while he would often be singled out by the opposition. In addition to his creative abilities, he also possessed an eye for goal and was known to be a free-kick specialist. A precocious talent, Maradona was given the nickname "El Pibe de Oro" ("The Golden Boy"), a name that stuck with him throughout his career.

In his international career with Argentina, he earned 91 caps and scored 34 goals.

Maradona played in four FIFA World Cups, including the 1986 World Cup in Mexico where he captained Argentina and led them to victory over West Germany in the final, and won the Golden Ball as the tournament's best player.

His second goal against England in the 1986 World Cup quarterfinal, a 60-metre dribble past five England players was voted "Goal of the Century" by FIFA.com voters in 2002.

 

Playing Career 

Full name: Diego Armando Maradona

Date of birth: 30 October 1960 (age 59)

Place of birth: Lanús, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Height: 1.67 m (5 ft 6 in)

Playing positions: Attacking midfielder/Second striker

 

Clubs

Years                  Team                           Apps        (Gls)

1976–1981          Argentinos Juniors           167         (116)

1981–1982          Boca Juniors                     40           (28)

1982–1984          Barcelona                         36           (22)

1984–1991          Napoli                            188           (81)

1992–1993          Sevilla                              26            (5)

1993–1994          Newell's Old Boys                5            (0)

1995–1997          Boca Juniors                      30           (7)

Total                                                      491         (259)

Honours

  • Boca Juniors - Argentine Primera División: 1981 Metropolitano
  • Barcelona - Copa del Rey: 1983; Copa de la Liga: 1983; Supercopa de España: 1983
  • Napoli - Serie A: 1986–87, 1989–90; Coppa Italia: 1986–87; UEFA Cup: 1988–89; Supercoppa Italiana: 1990

International

  • Argentina: 1977-1994 (91 Apps, 34 Gls)

 

Honours

  • FIFA World Youth Championship: 1979
  • FIFA World Cup: 1986
  • Artemio Franchi Trophy: 1993

Individual

  • Argentine Primera División top scorers: 1978 Metropolitano, 1979 Metropolitano, 1979 Nacional, 1980 Metropolitano, 1980 Nacional
  • FIFA World Youth Championship Golden Ball: 1979
  • FIFA World Youth Championship Silver Shoe: 1979
  • Argentine Football Writers' Footballer of the Year: 1979, 1980, 1981, 1986
  • South American Footballer of the Year: (official award) 1979, 1980
  • Olimpia de Oro: 1979, 1986
  • Guerin d'Oro (Serie A Footballer of the Year): 1985
  • UNICEF European Footballer of the Season: 1989–90
  • FIFA World Cup Golden Ball: 1986
  • FIFA World Cup Silver Shoe: 1986
  • FIFA World Cup Most Assists: 1986
  • FIFA World Cup All-Star Team: 1986, 1990
  • Onze d'Or: 1986, 1987
  • L'Équipe Champion of Champions: 1986
  • United Press International Athlete of the Year Award: 1986
  • World Soccer magazine's Player of the Year: 1986
  • Capocannoniere (Serie A top scorer): 1987–88
  • Coppa Italia top scorer: 1987–88
  • FIFA World Cup Bronze Ball: 1990
  • FIFA World Cup All-Time Team: 1994
  • South American Team of the Year: 1995

Argentine Football Association (AFA) president Claudio Tapia said the remainder of the season will be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Boca Juniors claimed the Primera Division title on the final day of the campaign in March, but the COVID-19 crisis has disrupted competitions across Argentina.

With Argentine football on hiatus since last month, Tapia declared the season over on Monday, with no relegation for two campaigns due to the disruptions.

"We are ending the tournaments," Tapia told TNT Sports, with the AFA to officially ratify the decision on Tuesday. "The idea is to restart play but when authorities allow it and with maximum security."

Relegation is calculated by points per game taken over a three-year period. Promotion, however, will continue but Tapia did not clarify from which divisions.

Diego Maradona's Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata were among the bottom three clubs in the relegation standings, though they are set to remain in the top division.

Meanwhile, the 24-team Copa Superliga tournament – scheduled to finish next month – has been scrapped.

"We are respectful of the measures that the government takes and we must comply with them," Tapia added. "When football stopped playing, it was not by decision of the Argentine soccer leaders, but by a decision of the Minister of Health.

"Human beings come first. If we take a hasty decision and a contagion occurs, we would go back to March 10 or 11 and it would be a piece of paper. We all want football to return, but we will have to wait. Life first."

There have been more than 190 deaths in Argentina and over 3,890 confirmed cases of coronavirus.

Globally, there have been at least 211,200 casualties, while COVID-19 cases have exceeded three million.

 

Lionel Messi has "ousted" Diego Maradona as Argentina's greatest number 10, according to former Italy international Antonio Cassano.

Messi's consistency over such a long period has made him the finest player Argentina has produced according to Cassano, who has called for Maradona's fans to accept that the Barcelona talisman deserves to be recognised as the best.

Cassano helped Real Madrid to the 2006-07 LaLiga title at the expense of Barca and Messi, but that success in Spain has not altered his opinion on the forward.

"Maradona did something never seen before for four or five years, but Messi has done the same things for 15 years," he said in an interview with Corriere dello Sport.

"He has made 710 goals and 300 assists. When he plays you start with a 1-0 lead.

"The ‘Maradonians’ have to accept it: there is someone who has ousted him."

Cassano revealed that, prior to Messi moving to the top of the list, he believed Brazil striker Ronaldo – a former Madrid team-mate - was the game's greatest.

"We were losing 1-0 at home," Cassano recalled. "The whole stadium was whistling, especially him [Ronaldo].

"In the locker room the coach removes Ronnie to put [Ruud] Van Nistelrooy on, but he [Ronaldo] stops him and says 'no, you take me off in 15 minutes if I haven't scored two goals'.

"Minute 15: 2-1 and two goals from Ronaldo. I said that if there is a football god, it is Ronaldo. Then I discovered that Messi is above him."

Carlos Tevez revealed he kissed Diego Maradona for luck before leading Boca Juniors to the Argentinian Primera Division title on Saturday.

Tevez scored a 72nd-minute winner to lift Boca to a 1-0 victory over Maradona's Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata and to the title after River Plate's draw at Atletico Tucuman.

The forward kissed Maradona on the mouth before the encounter and later said he was seeking luck, while he also praised Boca's second vice-president Juan Roman Riquelme.

"Roman is very important, it was very clear from the first talk. He also helped me a lot to find that Carlitos, this is the reward," Tevez said, via Ole.

"Roman in the box, me making a goal.

"I knew I had to kiss Diego, I was lucky that way... sometimes you have to look for luck."

Gimnasia goalkeeper Jorge Broun was unable to keep out Tevez's 20-yard effort for what proved to be the winner.

Tevez, 36, said he was desperate to deliver success for Boca, who moved onto 34 titles – two shy of River's all-time record of 36.

"I was hungry for glory again. I think I felt again that I had to go back to my neighbourhood, that I had to get off a lot of things and fight like the kid who fought when I was a kid," he said.

"It was two or three years of fighting against my head, against a lot of things. I always kept working, trying to get out of that well, it was very difficult for me to get out, to get back to my roots.

"It was as I was telling you, I needed to go back to be hungry for glory. I found myself at the right time."

Lorenzo Insigne had no interest in comparing Lionel Messi to Diego Maradona ahead of Napoli's clash with Barcelona, saying the latter was "divine for Neapolitans".

Messi and Barcelona make the trip to the Stadio San Paolo, where Maradona starred as a player in the 1980s and '90s, for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday.

Like Maradona, Messi is considered among the best players of all-time, but Insigne preferred not to compare the Argentine duo.

"I had an interview and I said Messi is the best player in the world," he told a news conference.

"However, I do not want to compare him with Maradona, who is everything for us. I do not want to compare him.

"Maradona is divine for Neapolitans, with all respect for Messi who is the best right now."

Despite some off-field issues, Barca are top of LaLiga and will go into the last-16 tie as favourites.

But Insigne said Napoli simply needed to focus on themselves heading into the first leg.

"I do not know what kind of problem Barcelona have got. I read some things as other people did," he said.

"I think after four goals scored by Messi against Eibar ... they have no problems.

"We do not have to think about them. We have to think about ourselves. They have to play a great game from the beginning until the end. That's it."

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