Diego Maradona: a flawed genius who had Argentina, Naples and the Pope on his team

So goodbye Diego 1960-2020, ironically 15 years to the day that George Best left us, without doubt one of the most gifted players to ever lace a football boot but will he be remembered globally as a legend?

Diego Maradona was loved by his country

I looked up one of the OED definitions of legend and it stated, “an extremely famous or notorious person, especially in a particular field”

Diego Armando Maradona was born on October 30, 1960 in Buenos Aires. Although originally from a poor working-class family his footballing prowess shone early and he was playing professionally for Argentinos Juniors, then on to Boca Juniors, Barcelona, Napoli and Sevilla before returning home.

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There’s no doubt that footballing wise he was a genius, but a tortured one. On the field at times he was like something from a different planet, but was that one of his biggest issues?

For all the highs there were so many lows, red cards, serious disciplinary problems, numerous failed drug tests and of course, for the whole English nation, that ‘goal’.

Hand of god whatever, it was against the laws of the game and also the spirit.

However as a man whose been in love with the beautiful game for over 50 years, 34 years on I know that if the tables had been turned and Gary Lineker punched it into Argentina’s goal, we’d all still be chuckling about it today.

When his playing career ended his problems appeared to multiply. Beset with obesity issues and alcohol and cocaine addiction, he almost made Joe Cocker look like he had his act together.

Was he simply too good? Could his personality not align itself with his talent?

My original question is answered by the OED definition as Maradona was both famous and notorious. So there is no doubt when it comes to being a legend, he ticks the required boxes.

But what for him now, if Satan has a football team, has he just made the biggest signing of his managerial career?

I actually knew the answer to this question in the summer of 2017 when I visited the Vatican. There on display is the iconic Number 10 Argentina shirt, personally signed to Pope Francisco with an accompanying photograph of the two of them together.

With the Pope on his side, there’s only one place he’s going.

So farewell to the ultimate tortured genius, he didn’t just burn the candle at both ends, he tried to smoke it and then eventually ate it.

I sincerely hope for all the joy and excitement he provided in life he finally gets the inner peace, which for all our flaws, we all deserve.

DIEGO MARADONA 1960-2020, gone but certainly never forgotten.