Diego Armando Maradona played in Serie A for seven years. In honour of the great man’s 60th birthday. We at The Gentleman Ultra asked Napoli shirt expert Damien Eck, of RB-Jerseys.com, to select the best shirts of the Maradona era at Napoli.
7. 1984/85 Third
Maradona’s first season in Italy. Napoli had narrowly avoided relegation the season prior, but improved in 84/85 with Maradona on board, finishing a respectable eighth.
Damien: Napoli wore a yellow shirt against Lazio and Inter that year and it’s one of the most sought after Napoli shirts for any big collector. Extremely rare and simply gorgeous.
Maradona in 1984/85 (all competitions): 36 games, 17 goals.
6. 1986/87 Home (Alternative Version)
Maradona’s third season at Napoli, and the most historic in the club’s history. The Argentine genius guided Napoli to their first ever Scudetto, finishing three points ahead of Juventus.
Damien: Less known to the general public, but this polo style shirt was worn a couple of times during the 1985-86 and 1986-87 seasons, with just the size of the sponsor being different in each season. The pinstriped, collar and cuffs are amazing.
Maradona in 1986/87: 41 games, 17 goals.
5. 1988-89 Home
One of the most iconic jerseys of 1980s. This was the season that Maradona felt he’d achieved all he could at Napoli, and agreed personal terms over a move to Marseille in the summer of 1989, only for club president Corrado Ferlaino to go back on his word and deny Maradona a transfer.
Maradona guided Napoli to their first piece of European silverware, as they lifted the UEFA Cup, beating Juventus, Bayern Munich and Stuttgart en route.
Damien: Another gorgeous shirt, but this time with Mars sponsor. Iconic because Napoli won the UEFA Cup wearing this shirt. Sadly they used shirts with the Mars sponsor written in black for the final.
Maradona in 1988/89: 50 games, 19 goals.
4. 1987/88 Third
Napoli entered the season as defending champions, and would throw the title away under suspicious circumstances (more on that later). Maradona on an individual level had one of his best seasons, winning the Capocannoniere award as the top goalscorer in Serie A with 15 goals.
Damien: A gorgeous red shirt with blue and white striped cuffs and collar. The Scudetto shield and Coppa Italia coccarda make this shirt even better. I absolutely love this. Only worn a couple of times that season.
Maradona in 1987/88: 37 games, 21 goals.
3. 1986/87 Home
“We built Napoli from the bottom, it was proper workmanship,” Maradona wrote in his 2000 autobiography, El Diego. In his first season they’d finished 8th, the second ended in an impressive third-placed finish. Now it was time to go for the jugular.
Napoli didn’t lose their first game of the season until early January, and would secure the Scudetto against Roberto Baggio’s Fiorentina on a boiling Neapolitan day in May. Maradona had done the unthinkable, and brought a league title to the southern part of the Italian mainland for the first time in history. The city of Naples partied like never before.
Damien: A heavy blue lanetta shirt with stitched badge, the NR logo and iconic Buitoni sponsor. An important jersey because it was worn when Napoli won their first Scudetto that season.
2. 1984/85 Away
In his book, Maradona described the Napoli team he inherited as a ‘Serie B team’. A young Ciro Ferrara was on the books, but not many of Maradona’s teammates from his first season at the club would go on to reach the heights of Maradona and Ferrara later in the decade. Still, at least they had a nice kit to play in.
Damien: I just love the 84-85 Linea Time shirts. Maradona made his Serie A debut against Hellas Verona in 1984 and wore this fantastic white away shirt. The massive embroidered CIRIO sponsor, the collar, the cuffs. Perfect.
1. 1987/88 Home
Look at it, just, look at it. The epitome of 1980s Serie A class. Unfortunately for Napoli, they would end this season without lifting a trophy that the shirt undoubtedly warranted.
Leading Serie A for most of the season, they quite unbelievably fell apart on the final straight, losing four of their last five games. Rumours have abound for years that several of the Napoli players were pressurised by the Neapolitan mafia, the Camorra, to lose games as the organisation stood to lose millions on bets placed by fans who believed the club would retain the Scudetto.
Maradona of course was never believed to be one of the individuals that downed tools, it wasn’t in his nature.
The 1987/88 home shirt is so iconic, and so rare, that an original replica is valued at close to €1,000.
Damien: The best. The most famous shirt with Scudetto & Coppa Italia patches, celebrating both 86-87 titles of ’I Partenopei’. The most iconic shirt, and the most beautiful. I ran an official collaboration with NR to reproduce the shirts last year, and the demand was so huge we sold out both batches quite easily.