Diego Armando Maradona was born on 30 October 1960, at the Policlínico (Polyclinic) Evita Hospital in Lanús, Buenos Aires Province, to a poor family that had moved from Corrientes Province; he was raised in Villa Fiorito, a shantytown on the southern outskirts of Buenos Aires, Argentina. He was the first son after four daughters. He has two younger brothers, Hugo (el Turco) and Raúl (Lalo), both of whom were also professional football players. His father Diego Maradona “Chitoro” (1927–2015), who worked at a chemicals factory, was of Guaraní (Indigenous) and Spanish (Basque) descent, and his mother Dalma Salvadora Franco, “Doña Tota” (1930–2011), was of Italian and Croatian descent.
When Diego came to Argentinos Juniors for trials, I was really struck by his talent and couldn’t believe he was only eight years old. In fact, we asked him for his ID card so we could check it, but he told us he didn’t have it on him. We were sure he was having us on because, although he had the physique of a child, he played like an adult. When we discovered he’d been telling us the truth, we decided to devote ourselves purely to him.
— Francisco Cornejo, youth coach who discovered Maradona
Maradona playing at the Torneos Evita in 1973 (a national sporting event in Argentina) with the “Cebollitas”
Maradona’s parents were both born and brought up in the town of Esquina in the north-east province of Corrientes on the banks of the Corriente River. In the 1950s, they left Esquina and settled in Buenos Aires. Maradona received his first football as a gift at age three and quickly became devoted to the game. At age eight, he was spotted by a talent scout while he was playing in his local club Estrella Roja. In March 1969 he was recommended to Los Cebollitas (The Little Onions), the junior team of Buenos Aires’s Argentinos Juniors by his close friend and football rival Gregorio Carrizo who had already been picked by coach Francis Gregorio Cornejo.Maradona became a star for the Cebollitas, and as a 12-year-old ball boy he amused spectators by showing his ball skills during the halftime breaks of Argentinos Juniors’ first division games. During 1973 and 1974, Maradona led Cebollitas to two Evita Tournament wins and 141 undefeated games in a row, playing alongside players like Adrian Domenech and Claudio Rodríguez, in what is regarded as the best youth team in the history of Argentine football. Maradona named Brazilian playmaker Rivellino and Manchester United winger George Best among his inspirations growing up