SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - JUNE 26: Diego Armando Maradona shows his support to Argentina prior to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group D match between Nigeria and Argentina at Saint Petersburg Stadium on June 26, 2018 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

We really need to talk about Diego Maradona and how cartoonish his figure has become in the last year, his tipping point was at the World Cup when Argentina played.

This might be a sensitive topic for many who regard Diego Maradona as the best player in football history, I sure know people who read this in Argentina won’t like what I have to say but here goes. El ‘Pelusa’ has always been compared to the likes of Pele when they are thinking about the best ever, but now that we are living in a Messi and Ronaldo era, it’s easy to forget just how good Maradona was as a player. Always doomed by his activities off the field, he was one of the few players who could convince a whole country that he was the biggest player of all but the reality is much sadder than anyone would expect. However, despite always being against the antics that Maradona displayed repeatedly in public I never stopped being curious to why people in Argentina preferred to ignore all this and keep saying he is the best player in history.

My epiphany about Maradona.

This happened right after that shameful display that Maradona had in the World Cup group stage match between Argentina and Nigeria, the man was all over the place and clearly under the influence of an unknown substance. Whoever even tries to deny this claim clearly has no idea how the world works or they love Maradona a little too much, it’s still unclear how FIFA condoned this behavior from one of their top ambassadors in a public event but we have our theories. My first reaction was utter disgust against him, then I followed the fake news that reported his death and quickly realized it wasn’t true but what surprised me the most was the deafening radio silence coming from every single news outlet in Argentina. All the newspapers, radio shows, as well as television shows reported was the fake news about his decease but never mentioned the blatant substance abuse he displayed during the match.

By then I wasn’t only fuming against all the people who deliberately ignored Diego’s behavior, I also started feeling deeply confused by this. The next thing I did was open up Youtube and I started watching his videos, I stumbled upon a specific one from his very first days as a professional footballer when his life hadn’t been corrupted by fame yet. That’s exactly when it hit me and that was the moment I understood why his compatriots defend Maradona so much, I had never seen such raw talent in any player during the modern era of football, perhaps only Ronaldinho could rival that insane skill. Maradona is the perfect representation of what God-given talent means, he embodies what it means to be a playmaker who usually sports the number ’10’ shirt on his back. Suddenly all that praise became clear to me, I almost felt like I was disrespecting the man by thinking he wasn’t the best footballer who ever played the beautiful game.

Acá, en casa, recuperándome de dos operaciones que tuve con mi dentista, el Dr. Braverman, para poder empezar a ver…

Slået op af Diego MaradonaMandag den 6. august 2018

My conclusion.

But after filling my bring with all the Maradona knowledge I could muster, I still came up with the same final result. I still believe that Pele, Leo Messi, and Cristiano Ronaldo are better overall players than Maradona. All three of them had long illustrious careers both on and off the pitch, whereas Diego started struggling with addiction since he arrived in Naples to play for Napoli where he became the legend that he is. If you ask me who has the biggest talent in football history I would say Maradona without giving it much thought, maybe Ronaldinho is the one that comes close to him. However, when you ask me who the best player ever is I immediately look at the overall career of the names in the conversation, and sadly for many Maradona barely makes the top 5. After watching Maradona struggling with his demons at such an advanced age, I still think he is going off the deep end and may not return if he doesn’t get the proper help he needs.

Do you think Diego Maradona is the best ever or who deserves that recognition in your opinion? Please share your opinion in the comment section down below.