Diego Maradona’s talent on the field is no secret. The Argentine national team player was one of the biggest names on every team he went to, but he also had the honor of playing with some real superstars.
Whether it was on the international stage or in any of Maradona’s clubs, El Pibe de Oro had to team up with so many huge names, many of whom picked up goals, trophies and appearances across Europe.
Diego Armando Maradona?
Remember 10 ???????????? moments from ????? number 10, one year after his death … pic.twitter.com/9ujF2o7zbx
– 90 min (@ 90min_Football) 25 November 2021
Here are ten of the best.
Quini was a Spanish legend / LLUIS GENE / GettyImages
One of the best strikers in Spain’s rich history, Quini’s time with Maradona was short and sweet. He was in Barcelona when Maradona arrived in 1982 and retired when he left two years later.
The duo won three cup competitions together, with Quini winning two more before Maradona joined, including the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1982.
Quini is best known for his playing time with Sporting Gijon, where he scored 165 of the 219 goals that leave him in eighth place in La Liga’s goal list of all time.
Kempes scored / Getty Images / GettyImages
Speaking of prolific La Liga strikers, Maradona enjoyed Mario Kempe’s company on the international stage.
Kempes was involved in the first years of Maradona’s Argentine career and was part of the team that won the World Cup in 1978 and finished as the competition’s best goal scorer with six goals.
Maradona matched it eight years later and was crowned the best player at the 1986 tournament when he led Argentina in his honor.
Maradona met Zola in Naples / Alessandro Sabattini / GettyImages
Maradona spent two years in Naples with little forward Gianfranco Zola between 1989 and 1991.
The pair wasted some time and took over immediately, which led Napoli to the Serie A title in 1989/90.
Zola is best known for his game with Chelsea between 1996 and 2003, but it was in Naples that the Italian national team player began to emerge as a future superstar.
Ruggeri with Maradona / PATRICK HERTZOG / GettyImages
Teammates for both club and country, Maradona and Oscar Ruggeri were some of the greatest moments in the history of Argentine football.
Minor successes with Boca Juniors in the early 1980s were followed by the famous World Cup triumph in 1986, but Ruggeri would continue to win even more without Maradona.
Ruggeri, a dominant midfielder, won the Copa America twice and the Confederations Cup once, and lifted the 1989/90 La Liga title with Real Madrid.
Valdano won the 1986 World Cup / STAFF / GettyImages
Like Ruggeri, the legendary striker Jorge Valdano had many successes at Real Madrid.
He won two La Liga titles and two UEFA Cups and received the La Liga Award for Best Foreign Player in 1986.
It was the same year that Valdano went with Maradona to win the World Cup. Not bad 12 months.
Redondo was popular in Madrid / Getty Images / GettyImages
To keep the Real Madrid theme alive, Fernando Redondo, winner of two La Liga titles and two Champions Leagues between 1995 and 2000, is coming.
Redondo had just started his career when Maradona began to bend, and the couple spent only two years together on the international stage before Maradona left.
They did not win anything together, but both had real success separately.
Ferrara & Maradona on the international stage / Alessandro Sabattini / GettyImages
No one played with Maradona more than the Italian midfielder Ciro Ferrara, who graduated from Napoli Academy the same summer that Maradona was recruited.
They teamed up for seven years and formed part of the backbone of the historic Napoli team that won two Serie A titles between 1987 and 1990.
After Maradona’s departure, Ferrara went to Juventus, where he won five more league titles and the 1995/96 Champions League.
Simeone and Maradona crossed paths briefly / Alessandro Sabattini / GettyImages
Current Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone came to Sevilla in 1992, following Maradona to the club.
Maradona’s departure 12 months later limited the time these two had together on the pitch, but they bonded on the international stage for a while longer.
Simeone had many successes with Argentina, although during his limited time with Maradona he was part of the 1994 World Cup squad, which Maradona described as the best Argentina setup ever.
Suker was productive in La Liga / Getty Images / GettyImages
Part of the Sevilla team was also the Croatian big player Davor Suker, who slowly emerged as a superstar striker at that time.
Alongside Maradona, Suker scored 13 goals in the 1992/93 season, but he would continue with 24 in the following season to announce himself as one of the best shooters in Spain.
Suker scored plenty of goals before his time in Sevilla ended, but most of his success came on Real Madrid’s book between 1996 and 1999.
Batistuta scored for fun on Fiorentina / Getty Images / GettyImages
Although he made his name in Argentina and soon excelled in Italy, Gabriel Batistuta never crossed paths with Maradona at club level.
Their time together for Argentina lasted just over 12 months and it was not as successful as either of them had hoped, although Maradona clearly remembers it with joy as Batistuta was also part of his international favorite team through the ages of 1994.
Batistuta continued to collect goals for Argentina in Maradona’s absence – he was the record shooter before Lionel Messi arrived – while breaking through the defensive game in Fiorentina.