In case you’re a Barcelona fan, it is most likely a supply of fixed pleasure that arguably the 2 best ever footballers performed in your membership.
Whereas Lionel Messi spent 17 years making a dynasty at Camp Nou, Diego Maradona received simply a few seasons to make his mark in Catalonia. However make his mark is precisely what he did.
Barça spent years monitoring Maradona down. Then vice chairman Nicolau Casaus first made a visit over to Argentina in 1978, which is the place he first got here throughout the diminutive midfielder. He was seen as too inexperienced as a 17-year-old and monetary calls for continued to disrupt their makes an attempt to signal him. That the Argentinian FA did not need him to depart his homeland forward of the 1982 World Cup additionally stalled Barça’s pursuit.
Ultimately, with Casaus main the cost within the prolonged negotiations, Barcelona received their man and Maradona grew to become the most costly footballer ever on the time for a £5m payment. That’d be a terrific deal in right now’s market, would not it?
His debut within the iconic blue and purple of Barça got here in September 1982, when he scored in a 2-1 victory over Valencia. Whereas he made a quick begin at Camp Nou, head coach Udo Lattek appeared pissed off in coping with the erratic Maradona, even ordering a crew bus to depart with out the icon as he was working late.
Lattek would quickly be sacked, however not earlier than Maradona encountered some bumps within the highway at his new membership. In December, he contracted hepatitis and would solely return in March for brand new supervisor Cesar Luis Menotti’s first sport in cost. Menotti had led Argentina to World Cup glory again in 1978.
Maradona began as Barça beat Actual Madrid to win the 1983 Copa del Rey – his first piece of silverware with the membership – having led the crew to the ultimate with objectives within the quarter finals and semi finals. In June that 12 months, he received a standing ovation on the Bernabeu because the Copa de la Liga title was secured. He scored in each legs of the ultimate, and drew the respect of Actual’s followers in that first sport.
Throughout the 1983/84 season, Menotti scheduled coaching to permit the erratic Maradona extra sleep through the morning. The connection between participant and supervisor was stronger that it was with Lattek.
Whereas he was by no means far-off from artistry and magic on the pitch, issues began to unravel for Maradona when he was smashed and severely injured in a conflict with league champions Athletic Membership by Andoni Goikoetxea, the ‘Butcher of Bilbao’.
He managed to return in January 1984, however Barça could not overtake Athletic and ended up a degree behind the champions by the top of the season. Nevertheless, they’d face off once more within the Copa del Rey last in what could be Maradona’s last sport for the membership.
Bluntly, it led to shame.
Tensions had flared within the build-up to the sport and through the 90 minutes Maradona had been focused and abused. It did not assist that the match was being performed at Actual Madrid, an organisation which was hated by each units of followers. Basques and Catalans booed the nationwide anthem. Ferocity and anger appeared to be everywhere.
Endika Guarrotxena scored the one aim of the sport, sealing victory for Athletic, and at full time a mass brawl broke out. Maradona hit unused substitute Miguel Angel Sola exhausting with a knee to the face earlier than all gamers began to take part and riot police have been finally referred to as in to escort Barcelona gamers from the pitch. Kung-fu kicks have been being thrown with such alarming regularity.
That was the top for Maradona at Barcelona. He moved on to Napoli, once more for a document switch payment, as a substitute of serving a 3 month ban that he was given for his function within the disgraceful scenes.
It proved to be the bottom second in a spell of fleeting highs at Camp Nou, and whereas his keep in Catalonia was memorable – not at all times in the appropriate manner – Maradona’s finest profession moments have been nonetheless to come back with Napoli and Argentina.