The Alternative Maradonas
Whilst Argentina understandably went hunting high and low for the next Maradona, in a vain attempt to find someone worthy of replacing the great an himself in their national team, the rest of the world also did a pretty good job of finding their own impersonators, spawning a whole host of fantastically named alternative Diego's...
Maradona of the Alps Andi Herzog.
One of Austria's finest players, Herzog made his name as an attacking midfielder with Rapid Vienna in the late 1980s. His ability at free-kicks and running with the ball would earn him the Maradona of the Alps tag, as well as a move to Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga in 1992, the same year he won the Austrian Footballer of the Year award. He impressed enough for Bayern Munich to make a move for him, but he would only spend a single season in Bavaria before transferring back to Bremen.
In 2002 Herzog became Austria's most capped player, and would retire from international duty with 103 caps, still a national record.
Maradona of the Caucasus Georgi Kinkladze.
Kinkladze became a cult hero at Manchester City before they became the money club they are now. Francis Lee, the City chairman at the time, saw him play for Georgia against Wales and agreed a fee of £2 million for him with his club, Dinamo Tbilisi, in the summer of 1996. These were dark days for City and their long-suffering supporters, but Kinkladze was the one player who lit things up for them and provided some memorable moments with his slaloming runs and cultured left foot.
Maradona of the Orient Hidetoshi Nakata.
When Perugia paid J-League side Bellmare Hiratsuka 4 mullion US dollars for a 21 year old attacking midfielder called Hidetoshi Nakata in 1998 many critics scoffed at the transfer, claiming that the Japanese youngster would be completely out of his depth in Serie A. They were soon eating their words though, as Nakata bagged 10 goals in just 33 Serie A games to make himself one of football's hottest prospects. Nakata's move to Italy also had a phenomenal effect on football back in Japan too, as thousands of "Nakata No7" Perugia shirts were sold and thousands of Japanese fans descended on the small Umbrian city to see him play!
Maradona of the East End Joe Cole.
Maradona of the Carpathians Gheorghe Hagi.
Maradona of the Bosphorous Emre Belozoglu.
Maradona of Italy Gianfranco Zola.
The Greek Maradona Vasilis Hatzipanagis.