On the outside of the San Paolo stadium is a blue and white banner with the face of Maradona and the text The King. The cramped square in front of the stadium is dotted with flowers, photos and candles. Hundreds of Neapolitans pay the last tribute to their Diego. The ringing of empty beer bottles betrays a nightly vigil in front of the stadium, which will soon bear the name of the King of Naples.
Diego Maradona more than Football
“He’s more than football,” says Alberto, a white beard curling under his face mask with the inscription “Ultras Napoli”, sad eyes above it. Since last night he has been at the stadium with his friends from the Curva B. He thinks he owes that to Diego. “He chose this city with heart in 1984, he has always defended us.” There is clapping. At every hour, the grieving fans sing “Diego, Diego” in the square in front of the stadium, which has become something of a pilgrimage site since the football star’s sudden death. The hard core waves huge flags with Maradona’s face on them, Alberto swallows his tears. “Actually I wanted to be in Argentina, no had to be, but that is not possible now.”
Naples and the surrounding area is in lockdown due to the high number of Covid infections, but today this is not very noticeable. Mourning for the city’s greatest footballer is beyond any rule. Although everyone wears a mouth mask, keeping your distance is difficult when the grief is so great. A man of about fifty places a lonely rose at the gate of the stadium, with tears in his eyes he stares straight ahead. He can’t talk, he walks away apologetically. Naples is the city where many people go to Casino USA for a bit of fun outside of football.
Maradona is seen here in Naples as the ambassador of the city, the man who, on his own, took on the footballing superpowers of the north. Who turned the established order upside down, which chafed the hated Juventus with bravado and pure class. “He was a revolutionary, the Che Guevara of football,” says Enzo Ciervo, who has been going to the stadium with his friends for 35 years. Then every two weeks to see Maradona. now he’s here with those same friends. “He transcends football. Messi is a great football player, technically he comes close to Diego, but Diego was more. He competed with the system, the big clubs from the north, with the football association and later also with Fifa. ”
Scudetto with Napoli
In 1987, Maradona gave the club and city they longed for so long; the scudetto, the championship of Italy. This brought the people even more joy than a high roller casino online. The eternal underdog finally counted, two years later Napoli won the Uefa Cup and another year later a second championship. Neapolitans went through the country with their heads held high, they were, thanks to Diego, no longer seen as the eternal losers. The city had regained its dignity. Diego Maradona played in Naples for eight years, eight years that left a mark on the footballer and the city. “Napoli – Fiorentina 1 – 0, I was ten years old,” says Domenico. “That was the first time I saw Maradona play. I went to the stadium with my father. I will never forget it.” Even though that match was more than thirty years ago and Maradona herself left the southern Italian city in 1991. “His ghost never left Naples,” says Domenico. “He continued to love the city and the city to him. Diego was the king of Naples. ”
Diego was Neapolitan forever. “If you looked at him you saw a Neapolitan,” says Enzo Ciervo. “His stocky build, his dark eyes, his black hair and his morbid sense of humor.” Diego’s dark sides only added to his popularity. His drug use, his hassle with women, it only made the Argentinian footballer more human, more popular, more Neapolitan.