40 years since Barça and Maradona lifted trophies

40 years since Barça and Maradona lifted trophies

Back in June 1983, Diego Armando Maradona guided a Barça side to the Copa del Rey and League Cup trophies, overcoming Real Madrid in two momentous finals

When Diego Armando Maradona joined Barça to great fanfare, not winning either the Liga or Spanish Super Cup titles during his two seasons with the Club may be viewed in some quarters as somewhat of a disappointment. Let's not forget though, that beginning 40 years ago today, the Argentinian superstar led Barça to memorable Copa del Rey and League Cup wins over Real Madrid between June 4 and 29 1983.

Maradona may have left the Club after just two tumultuous seasons, marked by a turbulent personal life, misunderstandings with the Club's Board of Directors, and setbacks such as contracting hepatitis in December 1982 and the terrible ankle ligament injury after the infamous brutal tackle by Andoni Goikoetxea on September 24 1983. However, the 58 matches he played while wearing the number 10 shirt provided evidence for his huge talent and glorious moments for FC Barcelona.

The Copa del Rey

The first of these great moments was on June 4 1983 at La Romareda stadium in Zaragoza, when Barça played Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey final. Coached at the time by Alfredo Di Stéfano, the all-whites had lost the Super Cup in December, the Liga title on the final matchday, and the European Super Cup against Aberdeen a month earlier. Coached by César Luis Menotti, Barça hadn't won the Liga or Super Cup titles either, but they had Maradona in their ranks and also wanted to come away with the Copa.

The game took time to settle down and was marked by some tough tackling, Migueli sending Bonet flying in one cumbersome coming-together. The initial chances fell to Real Madrid, but Barça struck first with a lovely move started by Schuster down the right, and continued by Maradona, who cut back before playing a superb pass back infield that Víctor Muñoz slotted inside the post. 1-0 after 32 minutes. Maradona was on the receiving end of a strong tackle by Camacho before the break, and then after the restart, just when everything pointed towards 2-0, Gerardo's grave error in defence gifted a goal for Santillana to tie the game, 1-1 after 50 minutes.

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The intensity continued in the second half, Real Madrid wasting a clear opportunity when Isidro was one-on-one with Urruti, and with Bonet man-marking Maradona, Barça had to wait for a winner at the death. Just when it looked like extra time was on the cards, Julio Alberto got away down the left wing at La Romareda and sent in a cross that Marcos Alonso acrobatically headed in for a 2-1 final score.

The historic goal by the recently departed ‘Pichón’ - as well as prompting Schuster's notorious hand gesture - ensured the first trophy for Maradona with Barça. “Marcos scored a tremendous goal I would have liked to score myself, but I am still so happy”, stated the Argentinian during the press conference when talking about the game's winning goal. “It was a tough game for us. I don't think Real Madrid deserved the draw. But we won in the end. I dedicate this win to the fans, they deserve it”, he added, a cherished moment for the FC Barcelona fans.

The League Cup

Three weeks later, the teams met again, this time in the League Cup, which was over two legs, with the first leg at the Santiago Bernabéu stadium. On June 26 1983, Maradona provided the assist for Carrasco to make it 1-0 after a weaving his way through the all-whites' defence, before going on to finish a historic move to make it 2-0.

The counterattacking goal was assisted by Lobo Carrasco, whose pass left Maradona through on goal with just Agustín to beat. He rounded him to his left and then waited until Juan José slid in, ultimately colliding with the post, before cutting back inside to slot the ball into the empty net.

MARADONA I JUAN JOSÉ (26-6-83, COPA DE LA LLIGA) Nicolás González, MD

The crowd were amazed by what they had just seen and sportingly gave Maradona a warm round of applause. Ultimately the game ended 2-2 after Real Madrid came back meaning that the return leg at Camp Nou three days later would decide which team would triumph.

The game on June 29 in the Stadium ended in a 2-1 win for a dominant Barça. Maradona scored the first goal from the penalty spot after a clear push on the onrushing Schuster, before Alexanco headed in the second after a free kick by Julio Alberto from the left. It looked like a potential goalfest as only 25 minutes had been played, but Barça didn't push for another, Santillana scoring for Real Madrid with ten minutes left, meaning the tie was won by only one goal, but still enough to confirm the second trophy for Barça with Maradona. “I am travelling to Buenos Aires so happy because of those two trophies and those unique fans. I love those fans!”, exclaimed the football legend during the post-match press conference.

Carrasco: "We could have defined an era with Maradona"

Francisco José Carrasco (Alcoy, 1959) played alongside Diego Armando Maradona for two of his eleven seasons at Barça. He states that the Argentinian star "challenged the physical side of the game with his style" and that as a young man he was "humble and observant because he was yet to claim his exalted position in world football". “It's a real shame that Maradona wasn't with Barça over a longer period. We could have defined an era”, assures Carrasco.

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