Jorge Luis Borges. Poeta, narrador y ensayista argentino, nacido el 24 de agosto de 1899 en Buenos Aires. Es bilingüe desde su infancia y aprenderá a leer en inglés antes que en castellano por influencia de su abuela materna de origen inglés.
Georgie, como es llamado en casa, tenía apenas seis años cuando dijo a su padre que quería ser escritor. A los siete años escribe en inglés un resumen de la mitología griega; a los ocho, La visera fatal, inspirado en un episodio del Quijote; a los nueve traduce del inglés El príncipe feliz de Oscar Wilde.
Su primera publicación registrada es una reseña de tres libros españoles escrita en francés para ser publicada en un periódico ginebrino. Pronto empezará a publicar poemas y manifiestos en la prensa literaria de España, donde reside desde 1919 hasta 1921, año en que los Borges regresan a Buenos Aires. El joven poeta redescubre su ciudad natal, sobre todo los suburbios del Sur, poblados de compadritos.
Borges empieza a escribir poemas sobre este descubrimiento, publicando su primer libro de poemas, Fervor de Buenos Aires (1923). Instalado definitivamente en su ciudad natal a partir de 1924, publicará algunas revistas literarias y con dos libros más, Luna de enfrente e Inquisiciones, establecerá ya en 1925 su reputación de jefe de la más joven vanguardia.
Borges impulsa el Grupo de Florida, que propone la europeización de la literatura en Latinoamérica. Estudia en Ginebra y viaja por Francia, Alemania y España, donde se une al grupo de los ultraístas y colabora con las revistas Ultra, Grecia y Cosmópolis. En Buenos Aires intenta propagar el ultraísmo a través de sus publicaciones literarias Prisma y Proa. Dirige la revista Anales de Buenos Aires y el suplemento literario Crítica. Colabora con revistas como Martín Fierro, Sur y Megáfono.
Durante los años 30, Borges fue progresivamente perdiento vista, hasta que quedó totalmente ciego. Aún así siguió a delante. Comenzó a trabajar en la Biblioteca Nacional (1938-1947) y, algún tiempo depsués pasó a ser su director (1955-1973). Se encontró con Adolfo Bioy Casares y juntos publicaron Antología de la literatura fantástica (1940). A partir de 1955 trabajó en la Universidad de Buenos Aires impartiendo clases de Literatura inglesa. Poco a poco fue dejando la poesía en favor de los relatos breves por los que ha pasado a la historia. Aunque es más conocido por sus cuentos, sus primeros pasos en la escritura fueron con ensayos filosóficos y literarios, algunos de los cuales se encuentran reunidos en Inquisiciones. La historia universal de la infamia (1935) es una colección de cuentos basados en criminales reales. En 1955 le nombraron académico de su país y en 1960 su obra era valorada universalmente como una de las más originales de América Latina.
En 1950 es elegido presidente de la Sociedad Argentina de Escritores y en 1955 director de la Biblioteca Nacional y miembro de la Academia de la Lengua. Profesor de filosofía y letras de la Universidad de Buenos Aires, recibe el Premio Nacional de Literatura en 1956, año en que los oftalmólogos le prohíben leer y escribir.
En 1961 Borges comparte con Samuel Beckett el premio Fomentor otorgado por el Congreso Internacional de Editores y que será el comienzo de su reputación en todo el mundo occidental. Recibirá luego el título de Commendatore por el gobierno italiano, el de Comandante de la Orden de las Letras y Artes por el gobierno francés, la Insignia de Caballero de la Orden del Imperio Británico y el Premio Cervantes, entre otros numerosísimos premios y títulos.
Borges dicta conferencias en Madrid, París, Ginebra, Oxford, Cambridge, Londres y varias ciudades de América Latina. Doctor Honoris Causa de las Universidades de Oxford, la Sorbona, Harvard y Palermo. En 1979 comparte el Premio Cervantes con Gerardo Diego. De su producción poética se destacan Fervor de Buenos Aires (1923), Luna de enfrente (1926), Libro del cielo y del infierno (1930), Ficciones (1944), El otro, el mismo (1969), Elogio de la sombra (1969) y La rosa profunda (1977).
En narrativa, Historia universal de la infamia (1935), El Aleph (1949), La muerte y la brújula (1951), El informe Brodie (1970) y El libro de arena (1975). Y en ensayo sobresalen El idioma de los argentinos (1928), El jardín de senderos que se bifurcan (1941), El libro de los seres imaginarios (1968), Nueva refutación del tiempo (1947), Otras inquisiciones (1952), Manual de zoología fantástica (1957), Siete noches (1980) y Un ensayo autobiográfico (1971), que constituye el único texto explícitamente autobiográfico firmado por Jorge Luis Borges. Escrito originalmente en lengua inglesa, se publicó por primera vez en 1971 en la prestigiosa revista The New Yorker, y es fruto de la colaboración entre Borges y Norman Thomas de Giovanni, su asistente y traductor al inglés por aquellos años.
En 1988 se publica de forma póstuma Atlas, relato de sus viajes por el mundo, escrito con su esposa María Kodama.
Jorge Luis Borges was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina on August 24, 1899 – the same year that Vladimir Nabokov was born. Shortly after his birth, his family relocated to calle Serrano 2135/47 in Palermo, a suburb on the northern outskirts of Buenos Aires.
Although the flavor of this neighborhood was to permanently enter Borges’ writing, at the turn of the century the middle-class Borges family felt distinctly out of place. His father, Jorge Guillermo Borges, was a lawyer and a psychology teacher whose personal beliefs were founded in anarchy. His mother, Leonor Acevedo de Borges, was a proud woman, descended from a long line of soldiers and freedom fighters; her own mother had furnished their home with family artifacts such as swords, uniforms, and portraits of great freedom fighters. Borges was terribly fond of both of his parents. His father taught him philosophy, once using a chessboard to explain Zeno’s paradox, and his mother, who would live to see 99, was a strong woman who would one day travel around the world with her son.
Borges’s younger sister Norah, his junior by two years, was his only real childhood friend. Together they invented imaginary playmates – “Quilos” and “The Windmill” – acted out scenes from books, and spent their time roaming the labyrinthine library and the garden, two images which would find endless incarnations in his writing. During the summers they stayed in their summerhouse in Adrogué, a nearby town where the reasonably well-to-do could relax in a European setting complete with tennis courts, English-style schools, and garden mazes scented with “the ubiquitous smell of eucalyptus trees.” Young Georgie was also fond of the zoo, and spent countless hours gazing at the animals, particularly the tigers – his favorites. As he would later remark toward the end of his life: “I used to stop for a long time in front of the tiger’s cage to see him pacing back and forth. I liked his natural beauty, his black stripes and his golden stripes. And now that I am blind, one single color remains for me, and it is precisely the color of the tiger, the color yellow.” In fact, a common punishment meted out to the young Georgie was to deny him trips to see his beloved tigers.
He was always expected to be a writer, as his father had made several attempts, and as his blindness increased over the years, it became a tacit understanding that his son would carry on the tradition. (Of course the blindness was hereditary, for Borges himself would later lose his sight as well.) He started writing at the age of six, mostly fanciful stories inspired by Cervantes. When he was nine, he translated Oscar Wilde’s “The Happy Prince” into Spanish, an effort which appeared in a local newspaper called El País. Since it was signed only “Jorge Borges,” everyone assumed it was his father’s work. After some visits to the pampa, where his mother’s cousins owned a ranch on the Uruguay River, he attempted to write gaucho poems, but quickly confessed that they were a failure. But still the pampas exerted an influence on him, and in addition to learning how to swim, he stored up many images that would typically later seek a more fulfilling release in his later stories.
Relief from Argentine bullies came in 1914, when Borges’s life was to make a drastic shift. Forced to an early retirement due to his failing eyesight, his father packed up the family and moved to Europe, spending a few weeks in Paris before setting out for Geneva. In Geneva the Borges children went to school, and his father was to see a Swiss eye specialist . . . But war broke out, and by necessity their lives changed. Their travelling was cut short, and they were forced to settle in Geneva, where they were later joined by their grandmother Fanny Haslam. (His maternal grandmother, Leonor Suárez de Acevedo, was already with them.) The Borges children would spend four years in Geneva, attending “high school” at the College Calvin and learning to speak Latin, German, and French – at which Norah surprisingly became more proficient than her brother. Fortunately, however, the students here were of a higher caliber than those who attended the state-run school in Buenos Aires, and Borges even made a few friends. In fact, it was his peers who convinced the headmaster to promote Borges despite his poor mastery of French!
In 1919 Borges’s maternal grandmother died, and the family left Geneva to settle in Lugano; and Borges, now equipped with a degree, decided it was time to become a serious writer. After a few abortive attempts in English and French, he accepted that Spanish was to be his language. Moving to Spain, the family lived here for over a year, moving from Barcelona to Majorca, then to Seville and on to Madrid. In Spain, the younger Borges began helping his father write a novel about the civil war of the 1870s. Jorge Luis himself had a story turned down by a magazine in Madrid; but during the winter in Seville, he finally saw one of his poems in print. After a few unsuccessful attempts to join various literary circles, in 1920 in Madrid he finally found an inspiration and a mentor in the Andalusian poet Rafael Cansinos-Asséns. Under his influence, Borges associated himself with a new literary circle, the “ultraists.” A group of idealists that met every Saturday night at the Café Colonial, the ultraists “admired American jazz, and were more interested in being Europeans than Spaniards.” All night long they would bandy ideas back and forth, engaging in sparkling literary conversation that fueled the fires of Borges’s imagination. It was among this circle that Borges finally realized that he needn’t be tied down to any one single tradition, particularly a national one. He wrote two books of essays and poems, praising among other things pacifism, anarchy, the Russian Revolution, and freethinking in general. However he quickly became embarrassed by his efforts, and he destroyed both books before leaving Spain in 1921.
Fervor de Buenos Aires: The Roaring Twenties
By 1923 Borges felt ready to bring out his first collection of poems. Called Fervor de Buenos Aires, the 64-page book was financed by his father. Rather hastily printed, the cover boasted a Norah woodcut, and without much thought in the way of profit, almost all of the three hundred copies were distributed freely – and often surreptitiously, such as slipping copies into the pockets of editor’s overcoats!
The years from 1924 to 1933 were quite prolific and exciting for Borges. He founded several more literary magazines with varying amounts of success, and he contributed a variety of pieces to many existing magazines, most notably Martin Fierro. Ironically, his contributions to this magazine were to take an unexpected turn when the editors of the magazine decided to “invent” a literary feud. The publicity stunt involved two groups of writers – the aristocratic and intellectual “Florida” group, and the streetwise “Boedo” group, steeped in gaucho lore. Because of his European attachments and his reputation as an intellectual, Borges was assigned to the “Florida” group, a decision which he unsuccessfully appealed. He wanted to write common literature filled with danger and local color – but nevertheless his reputation had merited the “Florida” designation. Disappointed, he spent the next few years attempting to divorce himself from that image, and as a consequence he spent many hours exploring the less reputable areas of the city, talking with the hoodlums, learning the tango, and absorbing the Italian/Portuguese dialect. (All to the dismay of his mother.) As a result, several more books of poems and essays were to issue from his pen, including Luna de Enfrente in 1925 and Cuaderno San Martín in 1929. Named for the brand of notebook in which he wrote them, Cuaderno San Martín netted him the Second Municipal Prize, a handsome sum of 3000 pesos. (One of the things he bought with the money was a complete set of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, a purchase that would serve him well over the years.) In 1930, he wrote a book about his boyhood hero, the poet Carriego, who had died of tuberculosis in 1912. Unfortunately the book, Evaristo Carriego, became more of a reminiscence of old-time Buenos Aires than a biography of the poet, and it was not very successful. (He revised it in 1955.)
The twenties were also to bring a new – albeit mild – political awareness to Borges. In an interesting and controversial break with family tradition, he supported the campaign of former president Hipólito Yrigoyen, a figure whom he compared favorably to an old family enemy, the Dictator Rosas. Yrigoyen served as president from 1916 to 1922 but, as the National Constitution barred the re-election of a president, Yrigoyen had to bide his time, pulling the strings of his party from behind the scenes. In 1928 Borges, perhaps attracted to Yrigoyen’s unusual campaign, featured prominently in the Committee of Young Intellectuals, a group dedicated to his re-election. Unfortunately, the only fruit to spring from his efforts was disillusionment – Yrigoyen won the election with more than 60% of the votes; and to the disappointment of many of his younger supporters, he proved to be out of touch with the times and a generally ineffective ruler. Borges’s dismay increased when Yrigoyen was overthrown by a military junta, which would turn out to be only the first of many more repressive governments. Finally, like many of his generation, Borges’s disgust with politics became complete.
Later in his life, Borges would downplay his years as an avant garde poet, practically disowning his writing of the period as being overly derivative. He claimed that several pieces were so drenched in local color that “the locals could hardly understand it.” His later embarrassment is such that he was actually known to buy up any copies he found of these works and burn them.
Transformations: The Darkening Thirties
Although Borges was finally coming into his own as a writer, the thirties were not a kind decade; the world was in an economic crisis, and Borges’ ailing father was now completely dependent on his mother. It was clearly time for Borges to rely on a source of steady income, and in 1937 he landed a $70/month job as First Assistant in the Miguel Cané branch of the Municipal Library. His work involved classifying and cataloging the library’s holdings, and it was a disappointingly simple job in which he was actually advised by his colleagues to slow down so that they could spread the task out as long as they could. He remained in the library for nine years, nine years of “solid unhappiness” leading a “menial and dismal existence.” He worked among colleagues who were less concerned with literature than with horse racing and girl watching, and to add insult to injury, his superiors and colleagues didn’t realize that he was the same Jorge Luis Borges who wrote some of the very same stories which they were cataloging! Usually, Borges would finish his work in the first hour of his day and spend the rest of the time in the basement, reading the classics or translating modern fiction into Spanish. (Borges was the first to translate Woolf and Faulkner into Spanish.)
Borges’s biggest fear was that he had lost his creative ability; that the disease had burned it out of him. In fact, nothing could be farther from the truth – he was about to embark on a creative arc that would eventually carry him to world fame. In an attempt to discover whether or not he still possessed his creative faculties, he penned a new story, an attempt at something different, something unique. The result was “Pierre Menard, Author of Don Quixote.” Next he wrote “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius.” Both were well received and published in Victoria Ocampo’s Sur. Delighted at his new surge in creativity, he began writing stories in the basement of the library, and so while his co-workers above obliviously frittered away their time on gossip, Borges was busy in the basement planting the seeds of postmodernism. “The Library of Babel” became his nightmare allegory for his job, and other stories quickly followed. In 1941, a collection of these stories was published, The Garden of Forking Paths, which would later be added to Artifices and retitled Ficciones in 1944. In 1942 he published a series of spoof detective stories with his younger friend Adolfo Bioy-Casares, Six Problems for Don Isidro Parodi, under the joint pen-name of “Bustos Domecq.”
Fortunately for Borges, being fired revealed itself as a mixed blessing. Soon after leaving the library, he accepted positions as a lecturer on American and English literature. He travelled across Argentina and Uruguay, giving talks on subjects that ranged from Blake to Buddhism. He was paid well, and for the first time in a long while, he was happy – although he could not conceal his pain at the direction taken by his country. The Perón regime, though coming short of directly detaining him, did attempt to make life more difficult for his family and friends. After taking part in a protest, his mother and Norah were arrested in 1948; his mother was placed under house arrest, but Norah was thrown in a jail primarily reserved for prostitutes. (When given the opportunity to be set free – if she wrote a letter of apology to Evita Perón – Norah elected to remain in jail.) Borges could rarely give a lecture without the presence of a police informer in the audience . . . although on a very Borgesian note, he actually came to know the agent, who himself was less than thrilled with his duties but needed to earn a paycheck. Still, his work went on. In 1949 his second major book of short stories appeared, The Aleph. It is perhaps notable that the title story concerns a disillusioned man who painfully denies his enemy the chance to experience the entire universe.
In 1952 Borges published his major collection of essays, Other Inquisitions.
With the assistance of his students and of his mother, who had begun to translate English classics into Spanish, he continued his career. To compensate for his loss of vision, he turned again to poetry, a form of writing that he could more easily revise in his head than on paper. He also continued his pursuit of knowledge, acquiring a taste for the old Anglo Saxon language and Old Norse. In 1960 he published El hacedor or “The Maker,” which was later retitled in English as Dreamtigers. Essentially a collection of prose pieces, parables, and poems, Borges considered El hacedor to be his best, and most personal, work.
An End to Solitude: The Sixties
In 1963 he travelled again to Europe, revisiting many locations from his childhood memories and meeting again with old friends and associates, and in 1967 he was invited by Harvard to spend a year in the U.S. as a visiting professor. There he met Norman Thomas di Giovanni, who would become a good friend, a literary collaborator, and one of his principal translators. That same year he also married his old friend Elsa Astete Millán, whose husband had died in 1964. Unfortunately it was not a fulfilling marriage for either of them – Elsa had grown used to a settled, married existence, and Borges was still too much the explorer. In addition, Elsa spoke only Spanish and felt uncomfortable in English-speaking countries and in front of English-speaking guests. The marriage lasted for less than three years, and in 1970 Borges and Millán obtained a divorce, and Borges moved back with his mother. Throughout these years, however, Borges still traveled quite extensively, visiting Europe, England, Scotland, and Israel. He wrote many more volumes of poetry, and a few collections of short stories and essays. In 1967 – the year that Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude was published – he and his old friend Bioy-Casares published another “Bustos Domecq” book, The Chronicles of Bustos Domecq. In 1970 a collection of more traditionally “Argentine” stories came out, El Informe de Brodie, “Dr. Brodie’s Report.” He developed an acquaintance with one of the students who attended his lectures, María Kodama, an Argentine with Japanese ancestry. She agreed to work as his secretary, and eventually their association blossomed into a collaborative friendship. He would later marry her during the last year of his life.
So Many Mirrors: The Long, Wandering Autumn
Life still had much in store for Borges, however. In 1976, the Japanese Ministry of Education invited him to Japan, and he finally got to visit a culture that had long fascinated him. When Isabel Perón was replaced by another military coup later that year, Borges began another one of his periodic flirtations with politics. In a similar vein to his earlier experience with Yrigoyen, Borges at first accepted the new government with a certain amount of trust and tolerance – a stance that won him the surprised disappointment of many of the Argentine left. But as mounting evidence revealed that the new government was just as abusive of power as any other traditional Argentine junta, Borges began to criticize its policies, until the “absurd war” over the Falkland Islands instigated yet another disgusted withdrawal from the world of politics.
Two years later, near the end of his long and wondrous life, he and María were married. On June 14, 1986, at the age of 86 and having never won the Nobel Prize for Literature, Jorge Luis Borges died of liver cancer in Geneva.
“Through the years, a man peoples a space with images of provinces, kingdoms, mountains, bays, ships, islands, fishes, rooms, tools, stars, horses, and people. Shortly before his death, he discovers that the patient labyrinth of lines traces
the image of his own face.”
Nació el 30 de octubre de 1960 en el barrio pobre de Villa Fiorita, en la periferia de Buenos Aires. Sus padres, Diego y Dalma Franco debieron tuvieron que hacer muchos sacrificios para alimentar a una familia de ocho hijos (tres niños y cinco niñas), en la cual Diego es el mayor de los niños.
Debutó en diciembre de 1970 en Los Cebollitas, el filial infantil del Argentinos Juniors. Con 10 años de edad hizo invicto a su equipo durante 136 partidos. Con once años resolvía muchos partidos que sus compañeros de 14 tenían perdidos. Ya entonces le llamaban El pibe de oro.
Jugador estrella de los muchos equipos en que ha jugado. Destaca especialmente su paso por el Boca Júnior y por el Nápoles. A lo largo de su carrera deportiva nunca se ha apartado de la polémica: al lado de la hazaña de participar en 4 mundiales de fútbol está el escándalo de haber dado positivo por dopaje en 3 ocasiones.
Desde que eL 25 de marzo de 1991 diera su primer positivo por cocaína, las drogas sólo han conseguido empañar su imagen pública puesto que la trayectoria deportiva del pelusa es simplemente meteórica: con 17 años debuta en la selección absoluta de Argentina, con 21 años ficha por el Boca Juniors, que ese mismo año consigue la liga. Entonces, Maradona se consagra como el máximo goleador del campeonato. En 1982 firma un contrato estelar con el F.C. Barcelona: entonces una ficha de 1.200 millones de pesetas era escandalosa. En el mundial 86 de México recibe el balón de oro de la FIFA por contribuir a la victoria de su selección contra Inglaterra en el Campeonato del Mundo aunque él mismo reconoce que el para siempre inmortalizado Gol de la mano de Diós lo marcó realmente con la mano.
Sus inicios fueron humildes, como los de tantas otras estrellas del fútbol, y sus hazañas le colocan hasta lo más alto del estrellato futbolístico, al lado de otros astros como Pelé, Cruyff o Matthaus. Hay quien dice que jamás habrá un 10 como él.
Prácticamente hasta enero del 2000 no reconoce públicamente que es cocainómano. Después de que su corazón le diera un buen susto, decide entrar en un programa de desintoxicación y se instala en una residencia en la Habana, donde cuenta con el total apoyo del mismísimo Fidel Castro.
Maradona anuncia su retirada del fútbol profesional en octubre de 1997 y, en diciembre de 2000, recibe con todos los honores y junto a Pelé el premio de la FIFA al Mejor Jugador de los últimos 70 años. Nació en Argentina
Diego Armando Maradona is arguably the greatest footballer that has ever put on a pair of boots. He is born in the slums of Villa Fiorito near Buenos Aires as the fifth of eight children. Maradona enters professional football at the astonishing age of 15. By the time he turns 16, Diego is called in the senior national squad of Argentina. Regardless of his talent, Diego is considered too young by coach Cesar Menotti, who rejects him from his selection for the 1978 World Cup. Bitterly disappointed, Maradona watches the tournament from home as his country wins gold. In the following four years, Diego dominates his country's domestic league and is eventually added to the Argentine squad for Spain 1982.
Argentina advances from the first stage of the tournament by losing to Belgium, but beating Hungary and Salvador. Maradona manages to leave his mark with two beautiful, yet not critical goals. In the the second stage of the tournament, Maradona is manhandled by his Italian marker Claudio Gentile. Diego's frustration gets him sent off. Argentina fails to advance and Diego is again suppressed from unleashing his full potential. Although unsuccessful, the brilliance of the Argentine footballer does not go unnoticed and after the World Cup, he is picked up by European powerhouse Barcelona. By 1984, Maradona had established himself in Barca and is picked up by the Italian club Napoli.
At the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, Maradona makes his return on the World stage in a spectacular fashion. After leading his team to a quarter final against England, Diego steals the attention of millions with both his controversial character and technical brilliance. The fuss around the Argentina-England encounter is further elevated by the Falkland Islands conflict, which at that time had turned both countries against each other
Unnoticed by the referees, the mishap is ruled a goal. Five minutes later, Maradona single handedly takes the ball through the entire English defense with a slalom from midfield right down to the goal line. After the match, when confronted with the video footage of the illegal goal, Maradona replies simply "Even if there was a hand, it must have been the hand of God." Maradona silenced his critics by deciding the following semi and final matches. By scoring two goals in the first and with an assist in the second, Maradona practically earns the World Cup for his nation.
Maradona's influence on his teammates was carried over to his club side Napoli, as they reached unprecedented heights, winning their very first and second Scudetto (1997 and 1990) and the UEFA Cup in 1988/99.
At Italy 1990, all eyes are on Argentina and its brightest star Diego Maradona. Diego comes close to replicating his success from four years ago. With Maradona's ability, Argentina defeats Brazil, Yugoslavia and Italy on its way to the final. Most memorable is the semi-final match between Argentina and Italy played at Diego's club home Naples. To the torment of Maradona, the fans at his own club stadium boo him during the match. Nevertheless, Argentina eliminates Italy after a penalty shootout. The final of the 1990 World Cup, leaves Diego helpless as Argentina are defeated 0-1 by West Germany with a goal from a questionable penalty.
After the loss against West Germany, Maradona's career plummets. In March of 1991, he tested positive for doping and is banned from football for 15 months. Maradona refuses to return back to Napoli after the World Cup incident and transferrs to Sevilla for a year. He eventually goes back to Argentina with Newell's Old Boys.
The 1994 World Cup confirms that Diego's career in international football is over. He is suspended again after failing yet another doping test. Hurt by his absence, Argentina is eventually eliminated by Romania in the second stage.
Shortly after, Diego takes on a new career path as a coach. He fails miserably again, unable to remain at a single club for more than four months. By 1995, Maradona is forced to return to the game as a player. He goes back to his former club Boca Juniors, and remains there until his last match on 25th of October 1997. Five days later, during his 37th birthday, Maradona announces his retirement from football. Up until 2001, Diego remains away from the playing pitch, periodically entering rehab for cocaine abuse. Diego plays his farewell match on the 10th of November 2001 against a select team comprised by some of the greatest footballers in the game including Ferrara, Suker, Stoichkov, Cantona, Higuita, and Romario. One year earlier, Maradona is voted Best Football Player of the Century by a global Internet poll. Controversy is stirred yet again, by his nearly unanimous victory. FIFA, who find Maradona's personal image as the 'King of Football' unacceptable, decide to give the same award to Pelé as the Best Footballer for the first half of the century.