The chile national team’s best-ever player and team captain was not just a star in his own right but also a man who also served as the country’s ambassador for the 2010 World Cup.
In his eight years as Chile’s national team captain, he led the team to two Copa Américas and a World Cup championship.
The Argentinean won two World Cups and was a major force in the national team, who were considered one of the strongest squads in South America during the 2010 tournament.
“Chile was a team that had a lot of stars, but no one really was known for that,” says former Chile defender Diego Maradona, who played for the team for 13 years.
“He was a very unique player, but he was the only one who was able to do everything.”
Maradonesque skills were the key, he says.
“In the first half, when the ball was coming, he was very calm.
In the second half, the whole team was attacking.
He was one of those players who can make it difficult for opponents to attack, but also create chances for himself and his teammates.”
But Maradone had his limits.
“There were times when he didn’t play, and I always felt he was a bit nervous,” Maradon says.
But Maradelo did not want to leave the team because he wanted to stay and work as a coach, and his time in Chile did not end there.
He stayed with the Chile national team for two years before he was finally released, and was later drafted by Manchester United.
He has since returned to Argentina, but his name still lingers in the minds of Chileans.
“A lot of people, when they talk about the Chile World Cups, think about Diego Maradelos, but I want to be able to say it was his best game,” says Maradono.
“His role was really important for the whole Chile team, so I was very happy that I played for him.”
Maradelosi won two Copas Américanos and two titles in his two years with Chile.
“The only time he played was in the Copa America,” says Marcelo.
“If he had not played, then we would not have qualified for the World Cup.”
For the second time in as many World Cups Maradeloni was unable to lead his team to a victory, and the team lost the first two games of the tournament.
Maradino says he was never able to fully trust his teammates.
“It was tough,” he says, “because everyone had a different opinion on the team, and sometimes you had to let them know what you thought.”
Still, he never forgot his role as Chile team captain.
“I had to be the captain,” Maradeli says.
In 2011, the Chile team was still in the group stage and still had the lead on England, with a goal to spare.
But when England scored the equalizer in extra time to beat the Chile 3-2 in the final of the Copas America, Maradeloa scored to give Chile a 3-1 victory.
“At the time, I was really happy,” Maradi said.
“For us to score in extra-time was great.
I was able, when I saw it coming, to score my goal.”
“I always had faith in Diego Marmaro, and he gave me a lot in that final,” says Argentina’s Marcelo Sarvas.
It’s a miracle that I got to do that.”