Created on 24-02-2010 at 00:00 AM
Love him or hate him, Diego Armando Maradona is a name familiar to all football fans. Some 13 years after his last match as a player, the Argentina coach continues to polarise opinion, praised for his prodigious ability, but castigated as a poor role model for cheating and a less than salubrious private life. However, no-one doubts he was one of the all-time great players.
Bayern have a Diego of their own now. Since the start of the year, Diego Armando Contento has been a member of the senior squad. In the space of a whirlwind ten days, he has made debuts in the DFB Cup, the Champions League and the Bundesliga. The 19-year-old even started last weekend’s 1-1 draw away to Nürnberg. “The last two weeks have been terrific. A dream’s come true for me,” Contento told fcbayern.de.
Parents were Napoli fans
By way of contrast with his namesake, Bayern’s Diego is a defender. Contento is at his most comfortable as a left-back, as he is left-footed, just like Maradona. The pair are not dissimilar in stature either, although at 176 cm (5 ft 9 in) Contento is a shade taller than the diminutive Maradona at 165 cm (5 ft 5 in).
The first names Diego Armando were deliberately chosen in homage to the Argentine footballer by Contento’s Italian parents, both passionate football fans. “They come from Naples, so they were naturally huge Napoli fans,” Contento revealed to fcbayern.de: “Maradona was Napoli’s star player back then.”
Contento himself is a genuine Munich native. He was born on 1 May 1990 in the Bavarian capital, and went on to represent Bayern at every youth level. He made his third division debut for the FCB reserves in early December 2008, before signing professional forms in January this year. His contract runs until 30 June 2011. He has played three times for the Germany U-20 team.
“I believe he has what it takes for the Bundesliga,” commented director of sport Christian Nerlinger. “We watched him carefully for a long period in the reserves, and he has everything you need: good technique and pace. I’d be delighted if it works out for him.” But with first names like Contento’s what can possibly go wrong?