Diego Maradona as a Child – The Early Life of a National Hero

Have you ever wondered how the genius of Diego Maradona came to be? In this post, we look at Diego Maradona as a child, his upbringing into his teenage years.

Diego Maradona as a child

The Early Years

Diego Maradona as a child‘ is one of the most sought after searches on the web. His childhood is arguably the most fascinating part of his life story. In Argentina, people are moved by how difficult the first years of his existence were.

He was born on October 30, 1960 in Lanus (Buenos Aires) and was the fifth of eight children conceived by Mr. Diego Maradona (1927-2015) and Dalma Salvadora Franco, better known as “Mrs. Tota” (1930-2011).

Maradona spent his childhood in Villa Fiorito, a very humble town where his family was plunged into the deepest misery.

diego maradona as a child villa fiorito map
Google Maps view of Villa Fiorito, marked by red arrow

Don Diego, his father, was a bricklayer who did everything he could to help his family get by, so much so that the small house where little Diego lived was built by the father of the family with his own hands.

Years later, in an interview with Infobae journalist Gabriela Cociffi, Maradona said that there was no piped water in his house, so his mother always sent him to collect water in the village. He would fill the big 20-litre jugs, take them to the kitchen of his house and his mother would use them to wash the dishes and to bathe Diego.

Diego Maradona’s Introduction to Soccer

In the early years of Diego’s life, food was scarce and he only had one pair of shoes to go to school and play soccer.

At dinner time, Mrs. Tota always said that she didn’t want to eat because she had a stomach-ache. However, when Diego turned 13 he found out that she had never felt any pain, she said that so that her children could eat.

In spite of all the difficulties that Maradona had to go through as a child in Villa Fiorito, in that place he also fell in love with soccer. When he was very young, he started kicking the ball with his friends in a paddock called “Las Siete Canchitas” (The Seven Little Fields).

So powerful was the bond that united him with this beautiful sport that when Maradona was a child, his mother had conflicts with him because Diego neglected his studies at school.

“The first image of my childhood that comes to mind is when my mum would pick me up to go to school and I would hide in the cornfields. The second image that comes to mind is one of me playing with the ball on a dirt road, very dirty,” confessed Maradona in a dialogue with Gabriela Cociffi.

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The Beginning of Maradona’s Career

At the age of 9, Maradona had his first “formal” contact with the world of football, when he joined the ‘Cebollitas’, a youth team of the professional club Argentinos Juniors, which was created by coach Francisco Cornejo to include boys born in 1960.

The small but prodigious Diego led a team of very talented children who achieved an impressive unbeaten record of 136 matches and won some important tournaments such as the National Evita Games and the 8th division championship in 1974.

That modest but skilful team began to gain fame and make appearances on TV. In addition to that, as many might intuit, Maradona also began to attract the attention of the big media even before he became a professional footballer.

When he was only 10 years old, he appeared in an article in the Clarin newspaper (one of the biggest in Argentina), in which he was described as “a kid with the appearance and class of a football star”, although the journalist made a typing mistake and referred to him as “Caradona”, instead of Maradona.

In spite of all that, the moments of greatest joy for Diego Maradona as a child came when he was taken to the matches of the professional team of Argentinos Juniors to collaborate as a ball boy.

Then, Diego began to become known among the fans of Argentinos Juniors, since in the intervals of the games, he entertained the public juggling and showing his great ability with the ball.

It can be said that Maradona’s childhood and youth culminated when he made his professional debut at Argentinos Juniors at 15. His life was never the same again, the little boy became a man and started a new stage on his way to the top.

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Although he lived a heroic, and equally tormented, life in his later years, knowing about Diego Maradona as a child is vitally important to understanding the man behind the legend.

He was a humble boy from a poor background who was propelled to stardom with his divine gifts.

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