Separating Diego from Maradona: five documentaries about the late football legend

Maradona died in his home near Buenos Aires on Wednesday at the age of 60

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Diego Maradona often referred to himself in the third person. Behaviour that could easily be construed as characteristic of vanity. But perhaps there was more to it than that. It's likely the late footballer – who died in his home near Buenos Aires on Wednesday, November 25 – was aware how much his legend transcended him. How wide the schism between Diego and The Golden Kid was.

The documentary Diego Maradona certainly gives this impression. Speaking on camera, his former fitness trainer Fernando Signorini says that Diego "was a kid who had insecurities, a wonderful boy. Maradona was the character he had to come up with in order to face the demands of the football business and the media."

The seismographic highs and lows of Maradona’s career have been well charted in the media. His substance abuse and his extramarital affairs made him a tabloid favorite. His football know-how has taken him all over the world from Barcelona to Fujairah. But if you’re wondering who the man behind the persona was, here are five documentaries to consider.

'Diego Maradona'

There are plenty of documentaries about Maradona. But this one stands out.

The 2019 film, which was directed by British filmmaker Asif Kapadia, shows, through a series of carefully selected footage, how much Maradona had to overcome to ensure his place as one of the greatest football players of all time. It also shows how he swerved back and forth between public adoration and vehement criticism, eventually letting his impulsive lifestyle consume him.

Director Kapadia expressed his sadness at hearing of Maradona’s death, writing on Twitter: “Can’t believe (he) has gone. Hard to process. He always seemed indestructible. I had 10 hours with the man!! I touched his left foot. We did our best to show the world the man, the myth, the fighter he was. The greatest.”

'Loving Maradona'

The 2005 documentary by Spanish filmmaker Javier Vazquez shows Maradona’s rise from the slums of Buenos Aires to become a football superstar.

The documentary, told in Maradona’s own words, also gives an inside glimpse at the many scandals he was entrenched in, as well as his time in seclusion in Cuba. There's also amazing footage from some of his best games.

'Maradona in Mexico'

After the high-point of his career as a midfielder, Maradona found an active role in the sport as a coach.

He travelled the world, coaching the Dubai-based Al Wasl Club and the Belarusian club Dynamo Brest. This 2019 documentary series – directed by Angus Macqueen – is about the time he spent as a coach for the Mexican club Dorados de Sinaloa in 2018 and 2019. The seven-part series gives us a more recent version of the footballer, especially when compared to some other titles on this list.

'Maradona by Kusturica'

This is Maradona’s life as presented by award-winning Serbian filmmaker Emir Kusturica. The 2008 documentary shows how Maradona was a man of contrast and with a clashing reputation, depending on where you are from. It shows how he was reviled in the UK because of his Hand of God goal at the 1986 World Cup, how he was adored in Argentina, and how he was seen with mixed feelings in Italy.

Kusturica also enjoyed unlimited access to Maradona himself, giving viewers a personal account of the footballer’s story from his humble beginnings to his fall from grace.


This 2017 documentary, directed by Alessio Maria Federici, sets its focus on Maradona’s time in Naples.

By combining a series of testimonies from local fans as well as those close to him, the documentary explores the legacy that Maradona left behind in the Italian city and the football club he lifted out of obscurity and into the global spotlight.