Not only is the Maradona Turn an effective escape, it looks insanely cool
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Diego Maradona controlled the ball so well that fans and other soccer players joked that he had the ball tied to his ankle. Learning the Maradona Turn will give a young player an appreciation for the greats like Maradona, and help them move their body and the ball like one of the best.
Diego Maradona wasn’t built like a ballet dancer, but he sure moved like one, and his signature move is not unlike a pirouette. When the Argentine “Number 10” twirled over the ball in a Maradona Turn, defenders and soccer fans were left awestruck by its elegance and efficiency—it’s basically a 360-degree spin on top of the ball.
The Maradona Turn is a dribbling skill that players can use to take the ball past a defender, particularly one coming at them from an angle. The player uses their body to shield the ball from the defender, while dragging the ball into the direction they want to go.
Another name for this move is a “roulette,” because the player spins so smoothly over the ball.
The Maradona Turn is an “on the run” move, so start by dribbling.
Let’s say the player wants to turn to the right. The player will put their right foot on top of the ball and drag the ball towards them. The player almost stops the ball, but they stay moving.
As they slow the ball, they twirl to the left, or counterclockwise. (They should keep their right arm up to get used to holding off a defender.)
They’ll land with the right foot in front of the ball, which is another part of keeping it away from the opponent. Then, they’ll use their left foot to drag the ball back into motion in the direction they want to run.
And then they’re off running to daylight.
Players don’t need much room to practice their Maradona Turns, just a few steps to dribble in and a few steps to dribble out. The less space they need to stop, drag, twirl and turn, the more Maradona they’ll look!
Once they are comfortable dragging the ball with each foot and running off in different directions, they can start dribbling towards cones (or other obstacles) and turning around them.
Since this move is best for escaping an oncoming player in a tight area, a good group exercise would have three or four players starting from the corners of a box. Tell them which way they are going to turn. When you say go, they all dribble towards the center of the box. As they close in on each other, they’ll make their Maradona Turns to dribble into open space.
The ball never goes too far from the player’s feet during a Maradona Turn. All of the movements are really tight, so it’s a great skill when the player is dribbling in a tight space on the pitch.
When a player with the ball sees a defender coming onto them at an angle, they should think “Maradona Turn.” The mid-air spin is the perfect way to shield the ball and change direction. The defender won’t know how they’re going to land or where they’re going to go, giving the dribbler the edge when one-on-one.
Diego Maradona could do everything well: dribble, pass, shoot, defend. With its combination of style, speed, ball protection and offense, the Maradona Turn is one of the best all-in-one soccer moves to learn.