The autobiography of a professional athlete – or even a biography written by the greatest wordsmith of his or her generation – will rarely, if ever, pass for literature. I found this out the hard way when I picked up Maradona: The Autobiography of Soccer’s Greastest and Most Controversial Star immediately after reading John Le Carre’s engrossing Little Drummer Girl. I mean, the ending of that one – no spoilers! – left me feeling more emotions than I knew what to do with.
But the autobiography of Diego Maradona succeeds on another level, due mainly to the immense and complicated personality of its subject. In other words, if there’s a soccer fan/biography-philic person in your life, Maradona has plenty to feed their fancy. His career spanned an era in world soccer made by many famous names and events. That Maradona was in the middle of so much of that history allows him to provide his own highly unique perspective on those personalities and events. One of the most enjoyable things in the book for me, personally, comes with hearing his version of events that I’ve seen during World Cups – things like the goals, both famous and infamous, against England in 1986, or reliving the loss to Cameroon that opened Argentina’s 1990 World Cup. Continue reading