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Diega Maradona kisses the freshly won World Cup in 1986
Debating the greatest footballer of all time is a futile task. There are several arguments each for Pele, Cruyff, Mardona etc, and each have their own respective campaigners.
It so happens that the evidence for Maradona is also a big reason for his placing in this top 50.
The claim that El Pibe de Oro (the Golden Boy) single-handedly (no pun intended) won Argentina the World Cup in 1986 is unfair to a squad that all played their part. But compared to other great World Cup teams — Brazil '58 and '70, Holland and Germany '74, France '98 — the Argentineans as a whole do not match up as well save for their captain.
Maradona was in inspirational, often extraordinary form throughout that tournament and was undoubtedly the difference in their progress through a tough run in their final three games against three good opponents in England, Belgium and West Germany.
The diminutive attacker performed a similar role at Napoli and among the highlights won two Scudettos (1987 and 1990) and the UEFA Cup (1989). Maradona's achievements here were arguably greater as these successes came at a time when Serie A was the strongest league in the world while Napoli were previously without a title in their history.
Again, he was teamed with fine players like Bruno Giordano and Antônio Careca (the trio formed the famed 'Ma-Gi-Ca' frontline), but Maradona was the instigator of this much longed-for success in Naples.