Diego Maradona was defined as much by his character than by his football. The Argentine icon as given several nicknames before, during and after his footballing career.
Many of these nicknames have stuck and were used to pay tribute to the former Napoli star after his death at the age of 60.
El Pelusa, El Cebollita and El Pibe de Oro all refer to Maradona, but what do they mean exactly? And what are their origins?
El Pelusa (The Fuzz)
Maradona always stood out for his short, stocky build and his large afro, particularly during the early years of his career. The Pelusa nickname, literally translated to ‘The Fuzz’, refers to his big hair and was first used in his hometown of Villa Fiorito.
El Barrilete Cosmico (The Cosmic Kite)
Ahead of the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, Argentinian player Cesar Luis Menotti disagreed with the decision to give Maradona the captaincy ahead of Daniel Passarella.
“Maradona lost his identity some time ago and it’s getting worse,” Menotti told the press at the time. “If Maradona doesn’t stop living like a kite, whether I go or not, he can be the figure of the World Cup.”
Maradona, of course, ended up being this figure of the tournament in Mexico and that kite description stuck with him.
El Cebollita (The Little Onion)
This nickname wasn’t used to describe Maradona himself to start with. When Francisco Cornejo discovered him playing for Argentinos Juniors, he referred to the team, full of smaller players, as the ‘Little Onions’.
Aside from his appearance, Maradona’s ability and success earned him other famous nicknames, including the original ‘El Pibe de Oro’, translated as ‘The Golden Kid’. This name was first used to describe Boca Juniors’ Ernesto Lazzatti many years before.
Maradona’s No.10 shirt number also became part of his image, earning him the nicknames ‘El Diez’ (The No.10) and ‘D10S’ (Dios, translated as God, with the 10 replacing the ‘I’ and ‘O’)