Diego Armando Maradona, 1960-2020. His was not a career that could be defined easily by statistics, for his game was larger than life, but they are impressive nonetheless.
By The Numbers pays tribute to the Argentine great by bringing you the best numbers from his immense career.
Maradona won one World Cup — the basic standard for all measure of greatness. How he won it — dragging an underwhelming team across the line through sheer force of genius and personality — is another matter, but that winner’s medal is the first differentiator in the GOAT debate.
Maradona won nine club trophies with Boca Juniors (1), Barcelona (3), and Napoli (5).
Napoli have won two Serie A league titles and one major European trophy in their entire 94-year-old history. All three came when Maradona was around (Serie A 1986-87 and 1989-90, UEFA Cup 1988-89).
They also won one Coppa Italia and one Supercoppa Italiana during Maradona’s spell in Naples. On his departure, Napoli retired the No. 10 jersey he wore in his seven years there, the only number the club have ever retired.
Maradona played professionally for 21 years, starting at age 16 with Argentinos Juniors and retiring aged 38 at Boca Juniors.
Maradona scored 34 goals playing in midfield for the Argentina national team, in 91 appearances. That puts him fifth on the all-time Argentine top goalscorers list (behind Lionel Messi, Gabriel Batistuta, Sergio Aguero, and Hernan Crespo).
Maradona left Napoli as the club’s all-time highest goal scorer, with 115 goals, a mark that has since been passed by Marek Hamsik and Dries Mertens.
Maradona scored 311 goals for his various clubs – Argentinos Juniors (116), Boca Juniors (28), Barcelona (38), Napoli (115), Sevilla FC (7), Newell’s Old Boys (0), and his second stint at Boca Juniors (7).
It’s Maradona’s exploits at the ultimate stage, the World Cup, that defined his career, though. Here’s a look at his best stats from the four World Cups he played in (1982-1994).
Maradona captained Argentina to their second, and (till date) last, World Cup title in 1986, 34 years ago.
Maradona is one of three Argentines to win the Golden Ball at a World Cup (the others being Mario Kempes in 1978 and Messi in 2014).
No player in World Cup history has given away more fouls for deliberate handball than Maradona (7).
Maradona could score, Maradona could create. No player has given more assists in World Cups (since 1966) than his eight. He also scored eight World Cup goals (tied 14th).
Maradona played 21 World Cup games in four editions, reaching two finals (1986, 1990), and winning one of them. That’s tied for third-most (since ’66).
In those 21 games, Maradona created 66 chances. No one (since 1966) has created more.
Defenders often treated Maradona as a human piñata – if you can’t stop him, kick him – and as a result he won 152 fouls in World Cups. That’s the most ever (since ’66). For context, the second-most fouls won by a single player is 64.
No one has completed more successful take-ons in World Cups (since 1966) than Maradona’s 188.
It is said Maradona won the 1986 World Cup single-handedly, and while that may be a slight exaggeration, his stats from that tournament are truly remarkable:
Maradona is the only player (since 1966) to have scored AND assisted at least five goals each in a single World Cup.
Maradona is the last player to have had 10 goal involvements (5 G + 5 A) in a single World Cup, and is the only player to have achieved the feat since 1970. Argentina scored 14 goals that World Cup, meaning Maradona was directly involved in 71.4% of all their goals.
The 53 successful take-ons Maradona completed in 1986 (at an average of eight per game) is the most in World Cup history (since 1966). The next closest are Jairzinho (47 in 1970), Messi (46 in 2014), and Eden Hazard (40 in 2018).
More trivia-within-trivia: Four of those successful take-ons came in one single move… that goal against England in the quarterfinals.
That goal we just mentioned took a 10-second dribble that carried him 51 metres across the Azteca from within his own half to the edge of England’s six-yard box – only three World Cup goals (since 1966) have seen players travel further with the ball.
Maradona was involved in 56% of all the shots Argentina took at the 1986 World Cup. Of the 101 shots the team had, 30 were taken by Maradona himself, 27 were taken from chances he created.