For his memoirs, Maradona teamed up with sports journalist Daniel Arcucci and spoke about everything good, bad, and ugly
He may have passed away last week at the age of 60, but Diego Maradona would always be remembered as one of the finest players to ‘touch’ the football.
In his memoirs Touched By God - How We Won The Mexico ‘86 World Cup - published four years prior to his death and translated a year later in English - the legendary footballer talks about his playing career as well as his coaching one, how he saved Argentina’s football team that was on the brink of destruction before the 1986 World Cup, his fellow players, former greats and much else.
For his memoirs, Maradona teamed up with sports journalist Daniel Arcucci and spoke about everything good, bad, and ugly that happened around him.
The way he has described incidents from former World Cup-winning Captain Daniel Passarella’s affair with the wife of another player, his attempt to demoralise the players ahead of the mega event and how the team regrouped after his exit makes one keep reading. Who could explain it all better?
Unlike other autobiographies or memoirs, this book mostly covers the five years between 1985 and 1990, in which a former World Cup-winning nation qualified for the World Cup final twice, and won once and lost once. Maradona’s firsthand account seems more like a documentary, especially to those who remember the tournament, the ‘Hand of God’ goal as well as the ‘Goal of the Century’ that happened a few minutes later in the same match. He also explains why he was so energized against England at that time - it had more to do with the Falklands War than World Cup - and that he scored the two goals for his countrymen, who had not forgotten the incident.
A Maradona book without controversy isn’t a Maradona book at all! The legendary sportsman hints that the only reason Ballon d’Or management didn’t give him the award in the 1980s was that another star player of the era was ‘supposedly’ buying them. He maintains his innocence regarding his ouster from the 1994 World Cup and clarifies that the drug test that ended his international career was his doctor’s mistake, not his and since they didn’t accept their mistake, he had to take the fall. The sadness of the incident is compensated with lots of action and historical pictures of the player who went on to become the ‘only [Argentinean] who knows how much the trophy weighs’.
Fellow Argentinians Daniel Passarella’s attitude wasn’t the only thing that distracted the eventual World Cup winners; he pointed out that the government tried to remove the Coach months before the event, didn’t provide the players with the proper equipment, forcing them to buy their kits themselves and it was only their out-of-the-box practice ritual that helped them last till the grand finale. He also spoke in detail about the ‘Hand of God’ goal and admitted that it was his fist that sent the ball into the goal, but he wasn’t sorry since it was like an extension of the Falklands War. He was glad that due to the second goal in the same match, most people forgot the first and credited his seven-year-old brother for what became known as the ‘Goal of the Century’.
The best thing about this book is that Maradona’s heart dictated the words instead of his mind. He criticised people like Pele for not standing with the players, explained why he grew a beard during his career and how his daughter treated him after he returned with the silver medal instead of gold in 1990!
You will also get to know of the injury scares he faced during the early 1980s, a few of which threatened his life in general and career in particular. How he defied them all and came out victorious is what makes this book an interesting read.