Lonely Planet Writer

Argentinian footballing legend Diego Maradona launches Abu Dhabi restaurant

Retired footballer Diego Maradona is bringing a taste of Argentina to the UAE as he launches a new restaurant.

The new cafe bears
Cafe Diego offers traditional Argentinian food.   Image by UAE.com

The décor at Café Diego is inspired by the footballer’s hometown of Buenos Aires, featuring brightly painted window shutters, upholstery in the colours of the Argentinian flag and Maradona murals based on street art from his home country. Shirts from various clubs Maradona played for – Boca Juniors, Barcelona and Napoli, plus other memorabilia from his footballing career are also on display.

Fans can taste some of Maradona’s’ favourite eats at the new restaurant too. The menu offers traditional Argentinian food as well as twists on international fare, with a number of dishes, such as the Diego Hamburguesa, named after the sportsman himself.

Diego Maradona celebrates after scoring his second goal against England in a quarterfinal match of the 1986 FIFA World Cup
Diego Maradona celebrates after scoring his second goal against England in a quarterfinal match of the 1986 FIFA World Cup Image by Jean-Yves Ruszniewski/Corbis/VCG/Getty Images

The café has just opened in Nation Galleria mall on Abu Dhabi’s West Corniche and was officially launched on the footballer’s 56th birthday.  Gulf News reports that football fans  greeted Maradona at the opening, along with two other footballing icons – Jorge Burruchaga, Maradona’s ex-Argentina teammate, who scored the winning goal in the 1986 World Cup final, and Clarence Seedorf, the former Dutch international and four-time Champions League winner.

Diego Maradona, manager of Al Wasl, plays with a camera lens during the Pro Etisalat League match between Al Wasl and Dubai, Al Maktoum Stadium on January 05, 2012 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Diego Maradona, manager of Al Wasl  in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Image by Amin Mohammad Jamali/Gallo Images/Getty Images

Maradona is no stranger to the UAE, as in 2011, he was manager of Dubai’s Al Wasl club in the Arabian Gulf League. He has also been a Dubai sports ambassador for the Dubai Sports Council. Maradona first became a sports star in Argentina when he played for Boca Juniors and later achieved iconic status for his performance during the the 1986 World Cup, which he is considered to have almost single-handedly won for Argentina. He was named the joint FIFA Player of the 20th Century with Pele in 2013.