When a teenage Maradona faced...

Soccer

When a teenage Maradona faced John Giles

Raf Diallo
Raf Diallo

08:54 27 Jun 2019


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A new documentary about Diego Maradona has been earning rave reviews since it was released earlier this month.

It takes in the Argentina legend's 1980s pomp at Napoli when he led the then-unfashionable club to Serie A glory twice.

As it happens, Ireland and Leeds legend John Giles faced Maradona long before that in his final game for the Boys in Green.

Whopper against the crossbar

"My last match for Ireland, Maradona came on at half-time. I think he was 17," he recalled of that 1979 fixture.

"We didn't know who he was. I remember him hitting the crossbar, pulling it on to his left foot and hitting a whopper against the crossbar and out. I remember thinking, 'What a player this guy is?' He was only a kid.

"We drew and it was no score draw. But I remember him, but we knew nothing about him before the match. He was absolutely outstanding and obviously went on to be one of the greats.

"Somebody said afterwards, 'Who was that kid?'"

John also highlighted one of the key themes from the documentary.

"I didn't see the documentary but I read a bit about it where a friend of his called him 'Diego' and called him 'Maradona,'" said John.

"So Diego was a different personality altogether to Maradona, which I can understand. I can understand that because I think he had no guidance. He came out of a tough, rough place in Argentina to go to Barcelona originally and then to Naples.

"He was an absolute genius. Maradona's up there with all [the greats]. I think he had no guidance. He was one of the first superstars to go abroad from a rough area.

"But he was a genius at what he did definitely."

You can watch the full chat with John here:

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