The day that Diego Maradona bid farewell, as his voice broke and the spot that had forever been home hurled and cried. In his valedictory second, he didn’t look for forgiveness. All he asked, instead, was that the game that he had cherished and that had worshipped him, the one that he had conquered, the one he had lit up, the one he had lifted into a craft, was not stained at all.
The last line of his lecture that day- the last time he graced La Bombonera, home of Boca Juniors, the club that held him closest to its heart- turned into an Argentine truism: “La petola no se mancha,” he told the treasured audience.
It is positively believable that Diego Armando Maradona, who passed on Wednesday at age 60, was the best soccer player actually to breathe; however, that is a subject of hot and enduring discussion. Less controversial is the possibility that no other player has ever motivated such a wild devotion.
Something is proceeding toward a faction in his name in Naples, the neglected and disparaged port city that he changed into the focal point of the soccer universe for a couple, great years at the pinnacle of his profession. The city’s chairman on Wednesday proposed the arena that houses his previous club, Napoli, should be renamed for him. That advantage presently falls to St. Paul.
Maradona never avoided recognizing that he had committed mistakes, even as he neglected to keep making them. The proneness – digestible, profound, unavoidable- as soccer swayed from the news on his demise, as the commendations flowed from Lionel Messi (interminable) and Cristiano Ronaldo (a virtuoso) and Pele (a legend), was to avoid his imperfections and his shortcomings, to strike his evils from memory out of regard, out of fondness.
And yet without notice of those difficulties, Maradona’s story isn’t purified. It is bent.
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