29 Oct 2008

Controversy could never mask Maradona's genius

2:29 pm on 29 October 2008

Diego Maradona, who's been named new coach of Argentina, is a gifted yet controversial figure whose off-field antics could never overshadow his brilliance on the football pitch.

The pint-sized midfielder shared FIFA's Player of the Century award with Brazilian legend Pele and led Argentina to a World Cup win in Mexico in 1986.

He's still infamous in England for punching the ball into the net in the quarter-final and attributing the first of his two goals in the match to "the hand of God".

Maradona also part of the team that came runners-up four years later in Italy after a 1-0 loss to West Germany during which two Argentine players were sent-off.

The 48-year-old was never far from controversy and was banned twice for drug infringements before suffering a heart attack , reportedly brought on by a cocaine overdose.