A Maradona Mini-Lesson

culture expressions slang Nov 25, 2020

If you haven't seen the news, Argentina's iconic and beloved soccer legend, Diego Armando Maradona, has passed. 

Widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, Maradona's goal against England in the 86' quarter-finals is one of the most famous in soccer-history and was dubbed 'la mano de Dios' - or the hand of God- as he illicitly scored by hitting the ball with his hand. Such is his status in Argentina that the country's president, Alberto Fernandez, announced three days of national mourning right after his death.

But it wasn't just goals and world cups that were associated with Maradona - he was also a man of many nicknames.

Check out some of his most famous apodos

El Pelusa

Translation: Fluff; fuzz

This nickname dates back to Maradona's childhood days spent in Villa Fiorito, a slum in the outskirts of Buenos Aires. In an interview he stated that he was christened pelusa since, when he was born, he was full of pelos or hairs, that made his resemble a pelusa.

El Pibe de Oro

Translation: The Golden Boy

'Pibe' in Argentina is a popular slang term for boy or kid. Ernesto Lazzatti, another famous Argentine soccer player, had been called by the same nickname 40 years earlier and when Maradona began to stand out, the same apodo was passed on. 

Barrilete cósmico

Translation: Cosmic kite  

This nickname dates back to the '86 World Cup when commentator Victor Hugo Morales used the iconic phrase to refer to 'El Gol del Siglo' - Maradona's play that came 4 minutes after the 'Mano de Dios' and is considered the best goal in soccer history. After scoring, Hugo famously said, ¿Barrilete cósmico, de qué planeta viniste? comparing Maradona to a cosmic kite, expressing that his performance had been out of this world.


Diego + gol, the word for goal. This one's pretty simple, right?


While this last one technically isn't a word, if you look closely, it resembles 'Dios' the word for God in Spanish. Maradona was so highly revered across the world that his most devout followers went on to create la Iglesia Maradoniana (the Maradonian Church). Spelled with a 10, which was the number he always wore, D10S encapsulates the legacy that he leaves behind.

Descansa Diegote extrañaremos. 

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