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There was skill in every step.
Immaculate precision in every touch.
And a rhythmic smoothness in every run.
It was small, but fast and sharp.
He did the impossible, day after day.
He blessed Barcelona, Argentina, Napoli, Newell’s and all the other teams he represented.
He was a hero at all times.
Years later, as he stood by the railing of the pavilion inches from falling, cheering with all his heart for these teams … The impact was the same.
People were still in awe of him.
This is Diego Armando Maradona.
An enduring epitome of passion, on and off the pitch.
On October 30, 1960, Lanús province of Buenos Aires witnessed the birth of the Future superhero.
The Neapolitans would say, ci ha levato gli schiaffi da facia – “He took the slaps off our faces.”
This superhero got his first foray into professional soccer in 1976 at the age of 16 for Argentinos Junior.
People around him were skeptical because he was the youngest player in Argentina’s Premier division.
But, oh, Diego cleared all his doubts within minutes of play.
He received the ball at his feet and with a single touch, he turned and shoved it into Juan Domingo Cabrera’s legs as the world stood still.
“That day I felt like I had heaven in my hands.”
Diego Maradona after his debut in 1976
This was the electric start of his career.
His dribble shattered defenses and blew the minds of the audience. It was a topic of conversation in all the bars of Argentina.
He made his debut for the national team in 1977 and was later signed by FC Barcelona in 1981 for a world record transfer fee.
An incredible headline from Quini… 🤩
… Spectacular work by Maradona 💙❤️
FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) November 29, 2020
In his two seasons with the Catalans, Maradona lifted 4 trophies, scored 22 goals and became a European favorite.
Next in line to sign him were Italian giants Napoli.
Per Semper Napoli
In the past, Napoli, for an emerging superstar, was not the place to be. The city was extremely poor and backward, struggling with epidemics and natural disasters.
It was a place looked down upon by the rest of Italy.
Maradona personally paid 12 million lire to make sure the entire team was covered by insurance and they could play a charity fundraising game to help the poor in Acerra. That was his love for Naples.
It was a team that was asked to “Burn on Vesuvius” and called “Cholera” in the opponent’s house.
But all of this changed.
Changed with the arrival of a man who would be considered as high as God in this city.
The same San Siro who previously booed the Napoli blues was now full of whistles, all to welcome the best player in Napoli and in the world: Diego Maradona.
The tables had turned.
The intimidated and oppressed Italians began to hold their heads high. Everyone from the mayor to the sanitation workers began to embrace the game because it was a form of redemption for them. Having Maradona on the pitch gave them the opportunity to face the rest of Italy with their heads held high.
The Argentine soon became a favorite and inherited the captaincy of the team.
He later led them to their first Serie A victory in 1986-87. This victory was more significant than one can imagine today, because it came during a period when tensions between the north and south of Italy were at their peak.
The Neapolitans held mock funerals for Juventus and Milan, burned their coffins, their death notices announced ‘May 1987, the other Italy has been defeated. A new empire is born!
In the following years, Napoli finished runner-up twice and lifted the title again in 1989-90. They also won the Italian Cup in 1989, however there was more at stake.
In 1989, Napoli reached the final of the European Cup against VFB Stuttgart.
The first leg of the final took place in Italy and ended 2-1 for Napoli after Diego scored a penalty. The return leg in Stuttgart, however, was the big test. With the rest of the world supporting Germany, Napoli was unfazed and ended the game 3-3 with Maradona assisting Ciro Ferrera’s third goal.
From the ruins of Italy, Naples was now the European Champion and Diego Maradona its Hero.
In his seven years there, he scored 81 goals and engraved his name in club history.
Or as the Neapolitans would say ci ha levato gli schiaffi da faccia – “He took the slaps off our faces.”
While this is enough to illustrate the Neapolitan’s love for Maradona, numerous stories show us Diego’s love for the side.
In 1984, Maradona agreed to play an exhibition match in the poor neighborhood of Acerra to raise money for poor children and a suffering Pietro Puzone.
Acerra was then well known for becoming the The largest landfill in the world. The place was gloomy and the ground muddy.
However, the Napoli management flatly refused to allow them a match to be played under such conditions.
Maradona, however, was up to the task and personally paid 12 million lire to ensure that the entire Napoli team was covered by insurance and he could and to help the poor of Acerra.
Half God, Half Devil
Argentina has always been crazy about football, but Maradona’s start there was not as smooth as it seems.
He made his debut for the national team at age 16, but was deemed “too young” and was never called up again. He then went on to play for the youth national team and the 1979 FIFA Youth World Cup with Argentina.
He was the star of the tournament and scored six goals in six matches on his behalf.
A recent documentary on his life that shows behind the scenes shows videos of him smoking mountains of substance and consuming alcohol, and yet showing up on the field for a game the next morning.
Then came his call from the Senior team. He participated in the 1979 Copa América and became a sensation for the country.
He was a crucial part of Argentina’s 1982 world cup team and played every minute of Argentina’s five games. The 22-year-old had 2 goals and 1 red card to his name.
Leaving behind his far from best performance at the 1982 World Cup, Maradona reappeared in 1986. The story, however, was completely different this time.
He was the captain of his team and the most dynamic player in the world.
Argentina was on a roll and Diego Maradona was more than impressive.
The highlight here was the quarter-finals against England. The game was jaw-dropping and heart-breaking at the same time.
It began with the ‘Goal of the century’ that Maradona scored for Argentina.
Running from the middle line, pivoting through the opposition midfield and dodging the entire English defense with ease, Diego put the ball into the back of the net.
With 1-1 on the scoreboard, however, the dark moment of the game arrived.
In a flying delivery to the area after the 70th minute, Maradona jumped to cut off his head but ended up scoring with his hand.
The referee, however, missed in the blink of an eye and the goal was stopped. The goals that Maradona made Half angel, half devil.
Argentina then progressed well and beat Germany in the final to lift the World Cup.
At the heart of this victory was Diego Maradona, with 90 dribbles and a direct involvement in 10 of Argentina’s 14 goals at the tournament.
A truly remarkable performance!
Maradona appeared again in the 1990 World Cup, but Argentina was eliminated in the quarterfinals.
In 1994 the legend returned. He scored his last goal against Greece and celebrated it in front of the camera before failing a drug test and being sent home from the World Cup.
“I need to be needed “
THE DARK SIDE
Failing the drug test for cocaine in 1994, Maradona had been banned from playing soccer for 15 months.
Fans were devastated to realize that their Super Hero He was no longer a ‘Super’ or a ‘Hero’.
This was a disgrace, a find that brought him down from the godly courage he had put himself on.
Little by little, more came to light.
Maradona had recently been in treatment for drug and alcohol withdrawal symptoms and was in behavioral therapy before a subdural hematoma, a blood clot in the brain, was detected.
Maradona had always been famous for having a lot of fun.
A recent behind-the-scenes documentary on his life chronicles incidents and shows videos of him smoking mountains of substance and consuming alcohol, yet appearing on the field for a game the next day.
However, their performance was never adversely affected by that behavior. He was still the best player on the field, but his image was in shambles.
With an unpleasant goodbye, he left Naples in 1992 to join Sevilla. He then left Seville after only one season and returned to Argentina, where he played for Newell’s Old Boys and Boca Juniors over a two-year span.
This was the not-so-brilliant end of his brilliant career.
He tried his luck as a manager, but couldn’t make it.
Now he was a Boca Junior fan and a punctual and passionate spectator.
He had been in treatment for drug withdrawal symptoms and alcohol was under behavioral therapy before being detected with a subdural hematoma, a blood clot in his brain.
This blood clot had been successfully removed by surgery in the first week of November, days before Maradona finally passed away in his sleep from a heart attack.
– FootTheBall (@FootTheBall) November 27, 2020
“This was a story I never wanted to publish!”
The journalist who broke the news of Maradona’s death
There was a gloomy silence that November afternoon.
Heartbroken, the fans fell to the ground. They lit their mural in Naples with candles and organized a march.
Napoli announced that they would change the name of their San Paolo stadium Diego Aramando Maradona Stadium.
All football games were silent in his memory.
Lionel messi and Lorenzo Insigne dedicated his goals to him.
However, none of this will ever compare to what Diego gave to the fans and the game. All of this is what will help us keep it alive in our hearts, forever!
Goodbye to the legend, Diego Armando Maradona.
Rest in peace.
“Everything related to Maradona is a source of inspiration for those who feel it and carry his soul,” said Matías Disciosia, who has a huge tattoo of Maradona’s name and the number 10 on his back 5/6 pic.twitter.com/Afx7s7mtR8
– Reuters (@Reuters) November 30, 2020