Hall Of Idols # 12: Diego Armando Maradona

Portrait of Argentinian midfielder Diego Maradona

Eleventh installment in a series exploring very important people in my life.

Let me start explaining how this will work: I listed 65 idols of mine. Every Friday (with the exception of those reserved for the Rock Chain posts) I’ll draw one of the names (following a system that it’s really not important to be explained here) and talk about it.

Therefore, the order in which the names will appear doesn’t necessarily shows where they rank in my preference.

As a final introductory note, this is also not a biography article. I’ll just write how I feel about people represented in it, their talent and their importance in my life.

Keeping up with the World Cup, nothing more fitting than talking about the second greatest soccer player ever; one that left his indelible mark in the tournament. And I swear to God that his name was drawn from the ballot by pure coincidence.

Controversial in the same proportion that he is talented, Diego Armando Maradona Franco was born 30 October 1960 in Lanús, Buenos Aires Province. He had a rather poor and rough childhood and went on to capture the hearts of an entire country.

He took Argentina to a World Cup title by himself in 1986 and then to the final game against West Germany in 1990 (where they lost in controversial circumstances). He took a team from a poor Italian city (Naples) to world recognition winning two national titles, one UEFA European title and National Cup and one National Supercup.

He was involved in scandals involving drugs and the mob and almost everytime he opens up his mouth, 90% of the time he speaks bullshit.

And you know what? I don’t really give a shit. To me what’s important is what he did on the field and there he was the greatest soccer player I ever saw.

His defiant posture against FIFA made him an unwelcome presence for the powers that be and he was cruelly and unfairly expelled from the World Cup in 1994, because his presence would hinder Havelange and Teixeira’s masterplan to make Brazil World Champions once again. And not even if Jesus Christ or Paul McCartney come to me and tell me that that was not the case, I won’t believe it. To me, it was all a set up.

Besides, you gotta understand his impact in my life. I was just kid falling in love with soccer in ’86 when he scored that goal against England and the other two against Belgium. The impact of those goals in my 7 year old mind was immeasurable. Maradona became my idol and not even all the bullshit he talks (especially regarding politics) will ever change that.

Bienvenido, Dom Diego.

Be sure to check out my book “Straight And Lethal”.

You can contact me at: carloantico666@gmail.com

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