GreatBong has a ball remembering Maradona, and that’s my abiding image of World Cup football as well:
Blame this on the way I was initiated into soccer—my first idol was the greatest dribbler, mid-field general and larger-than-life character of the modern football game: the indubitablly God-like Maradonna. There has never been one player who has dominated a tournament so much as Maradonna did the 1986 World Cup. This man was everywhere, defending behind Neri Pompido (the Argentine keeper), splitting defences with his precise through-balls to the feet of Burruchaga and Valdano and then, sometimes, just to show that he was the greatest, running through defences like an unstoppable juggernaut, caring little for the expectant Argentine forwards.
My abiding memories of him would be his inspired run through the legendary Belgium defence—dribbling like a maniac, the Belgians tripping and shoving and Maradonna maintaining his balance all through (the man could not usually be brought down unless he wanted to), his drawing three Brazilan defenders away and giving Claudio Cannigia a pass in front of goal (this was in the 1990 World Cup where Brazil dominated the match throughout but were undone by this bit of magic at the very end) and of course his Hand of God goal and the blitzkrieging run through the English defence that followed “that” goal. Not only his football but everything about this man was dramatic: his hand and facial gestures at the referee, his exaggerated “dives”—something he did with greater frequency as he got older and his out-of-control off-field activities (drugs and mafia connections).