Freestyle Football (or soccer) is the artistic counterpart to modern football, where the freestyler interprets a theme using a spectacular mix of breath-taking tricks and moves with the football. The aim is to create a perfect showpiece that will entertain the audience and introduce them to a whole new side of football. Freestyle Football is a way to express yourself with a ball in a creative and artful way, and this is why it is rapidly gaining popularity and is being presented as an attraction at ever more diverse events.
It is said that Freestyle Football was born on 17th May 1989 when it was originally shown in the Stuttgart Necker Arena by none other than Diego Armando Maradona. While his SSC Napoli teammates prepared for a UEFA Cup rematch against Vfb Stuttgart with warm-up exercises and sprints, Maradona juggled the ball for several minutes using not only his feet, but also his knees, shoulders, neck and head. He finished his performance by shooting a goal from the centre circle and was rewarded by the Stuttgart crowd with great applause. At that time his performance was not yet known as Freestyle Football, instead it was just referred to as ball juggling. However, Maradona showed something very new. Before him there had been 2 other well-known artists, Rastellio Enrico (1915-1931) and Francis Brunn (between 1940-1970), who included some elements of modern Freestyle Football in their shows. But this new kind of freestyling with the ball was still largely unknown at their time and, therefore, the true origin of Freestyle was did indeed with Diego Maradona. Nowadays, more and more professional footballers, like Ronaldinho, Cristiano Ronaldo, Frank Ribery and many others, are following in Maradona’s footsteps and perform freestyle football.