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Argentina’s 1986 World Cup Squad: Where are they now?

Argentina's 1986 World Cup Squad Where are they now?

It's been 36 years since 's 1986 World Cup squad took the field in Mexico. That team, led by the legendary Diego Maradona, was surrounded by other great players like Jose Luis Brown, Sergio Batista, and the two Jorges: Burruchaga and Jorge Valdano. Together, they are widely considered to be one of the best-ever teams.

But what happened to those players, and where are they now?

Diego Maradona

Diego Maradona produced two of the most iconic World Cup moments in history when he scored the “Hand of God Goal” and “Goal of the Century” in the 1986 World Cup quarter-final match against . He contributed to ten of his team's 14 (five strikes, five assists) in the tournament.

One of football's greatest ever number 10s (if not THE, we'll let you debate that), Diego Maradona was already a global icon before his career blossomed further after the 1986 World Cup. At Napoli, the player was unstoppable, helping the Italian side win its first-ever Serie A title in the 1986/87 season, along with the Coppa . The team won a second league title in 1989/90.

But the harder they come, the harder they fall. Maradona's drug abuse — which started while a player for Barcelona — became unstoppable. The Argentine was repeatedly banned from the game in 1991 and 1994 for testing positive for cocaine.

Football's demi-god finished his playing career with stints at Sevilla, Newell's Old Boys, and back to Boca Juniors for one last curtain call before hanging up his boots.

Maradona took up various management positions in his late forties, leading Argentina into the 2010 World Cup, where they lost to Germany in the quarter-finals. He coached teams across the Emirates, Mexico, and Argentina before dying of a sudden heart attack in November 2020.

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Jorge Valdano

One of the unsung heroes of Argentina's 1986 World Cup triumph, forward Jorge Valdano scored four goals during the tournament, including one in the final against West Germany.

Signed to Real Madrid in 1984, the former Real Zaragoza flourished with Los Blancos, scoring 40 goals in 48 La Liga matches before contacting Hepatitis B in 1987, leading to a premature retirement as a player.

Valdano took charge as Real Madrid boss in 1994, famously handing the legendary Madrid striker Raul a starter at 17 years old. Valdano led Los Blancos to the La Liga title that same year before moving into Real Madrid's General Director for Sport, followed by General Director for the Presidency.

Jorge is currently a commentator for BeIn Sports.

Jorge Burruchaga

While Maradona carried Argentina in 1986, it was Jorge Burruchaga who scored the decisive goal in the final.

The 5-foot-10 attacking midfielder/forward, nicknamed Burru, went on to play for French clubs Nantes and Valenciennes FC before returning to Argentina to finish his career at Independiente.

He coached various Argentine clubs after lacing them up on the pitch, including Arsenal de Sarandi, Estudiantes, and Banfield, before wrapping up at Atletico de Rafaela.

He's currently co-commentating on Fútbol de Primera Radio on the World Cup games in Qatar.

Jose Luis Brown

He scored the opening goal in the final against West Germany in Mexico in 1986. Central defender Jose Luis Brown also played a key role in securing the backline for La Albiceleste in the run-up to the final, conceding only three goals in six games.

Brown spent most of his playing career with Primera División side Estudiantes, winning two league titles. He wrapped up his 14-year career with stints in France and Spain before finishing up at Racing Club.

Before his death in 2019, Brown served various coaching roles with Argentina clubs, eventually joining Diego Maradona's staff for the Argentina national team.

Sergio Batista

Defensive midfielder Sergio Batista or Checho, as his teammates called him, started every game at the 1986 World Cup. The bearded legend played most of his senior career at Argentinos Juniors in the 1980s and won the league title in 1989/90 with River Plate.

He tried his hand at playing in coaching in Japan in the mid-90s before returning to play for his final club, All Boys, in his native Argentina. Batista took on a managerial career in 2000, starting with Uruguayan club Bella Vista before stints at Argentinos Juniors, Nueva Chicago, and Godoy Cruz.

He became Argentina's U-20 coach in 2007, ultimately leading the team to a gold medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics. He also served as caretaker and then permanent national coach in 2010 after the departure of Maradona.

Batista took up a two-year coaching job for Shanghai Shenhua in 2012 before coaching the Bahrain national team in 2015. His last coaching role was with Qatar SC during the 2018-19 season.

Nery Pumpido

Nery Pumpido was a force in the net during the 1986 World Cup, conceding just five goals in six games and three clean sheets before the final.

While at River Plate, he won the league and guided the club to their first-ever Copa Libertadores and Intercontinental Cup title. He moved to Real Betis in 1988 before retiring in 1993 to become a head coach.

During the 2000s, he coached various clubs across Mexico and Argentina. He won the Copa Libertadores in 2002 with Paraguayan side Olimpia, a club he returned to in 2010 to coach another year. His last role was with Union Santa Fe during the 2012/13 season.

Hector Enrique

Midfielder Hector Enrique or El Negro as fans called him, is perhaps best remembered as the last Argentina player to touch the ball before Maradona picked it up en route to the Goal of the Century.

1986 turned out to be a big year for Enrique, as along with the World Cup, he won the Primera, Copa Libertadores, and Copa Interamericana with River Plate. Like Sergio Batista, Enrique spent his last professional years playing in Japan.

Oscar Ruggeri

Center-back Oscar Ruggeri is one of Argentina's greatest-ever defenders, earning 97 caps with the national side. Sixteen of those appearances came during the World Cup, in which Ruggeri played a crucial role in the 1986 triumph and 1990 runners-up — he also captained the 1994 side after the expulsion of Maradona. Ruggeri helped La Albiceleste to two Copa América and the 1992 FIFA Confederations Cup.

Ruggeri played on the same River Plate team as Hector Enrique, which won the 1986 Primera Division, Copa Libertadores, Intercontinental Cup, and Copa Interamericana. Ruggeri also played for La Liga giants Real Madrid where he won the 1989/90 title. After stints across Italy and Mexico, he finished his professional career in Argentina, playing for San Lorenzo and Lanus.

He'd go on to coach teams across Argentina, Mexico, and Spain before taking up an analyst role with Fox Sports Latin America show 90 Minutos de Futbol.

Julio Olarticoechea

Olarticoechea was Maradona's roommate during the 1986 World Cup. The defender went on to book 32 appearances with the national side, also participating in the 1990 World Cup.

Olarticoechea played his club football with, most notably, Racing, River Plate, and Boca Juniors in Argentina. He coached the Argentina women's soccer team in 2015.

Ricardo Giusti

Ricardo Giusti is one of only five players to have played at least ten World Cup games without ever losing. He made 53 appearances with La Albiceleste and played 17 years at the club level with Newell's Old Boys, Argentina Juniors, Independiente, and Unión de Santa Fe, respectively.

José Luis Cuciuffo

The center-back José Luis Cuciuffo wore the number nine shirt when he helped guide the team to their 1986 World Cup glory. Cuciuffo played his club football for various Argentina teams, including Vélez Sarsfield and Boca Juniors, before heading to France to play for Nîmes — he returned to Argentina to play for Belgrano after that.

He shot himself dead in 2004 in a tragic accident while hunting in the southern province of Buenos Aires, San Blas Bay.

Be sure to read about Italy's 2006 World Cup Squad: Where are they now? and Spain's 2010 World Cup Squad: Where are they now?

Photo: Twitter/equipesdelegend

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