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The World Reacts to Diego Maradona’s Death

Sport

The outpouring of grief is producing unbelievable scenes in Argentina and Naples, and all around the world. In his various guises, good or bad, Maradona means something to everyone...

Diego Maradona is one of those stars who every football fan has a memory of. I remember watching him in that game against England in the 86 World Cup and experiencing overwhelming emotions – the hot injustice of his handball goal, and then the electrifying awe of his second, tied to a disappointment that was almost too much to bear. In the wake of that game, the man was vilified, hated, he was on the cover of every newspaper and the talk of the playground. He seemed almost supernatural in this, supernatural in his abilities and his capacity to get away with murder (or near enough!). It gave him immense power and fascination.

It was the same by the time of the 1994 World Cup, watching him from the sofa as he whipped in an astonishing goal against Greece and then ran screaming right towards the camera, demonic, exultant. Shortly after, he tested positive for cocaine. I was unaware of cocaine at the time, but I knew when an adult was a maniac.

But it was the awe that lingered. When I was twelve or thirteen I somehow managed to get my dad to buy me a pair of Puma Maradona football boots, out of guilt when he failed to pick me up after school one day. These boots not only had Maradona’s signature on them (I didn’t know it was just printed on, I was a dumb kid), but were exceptionally comfortable compared to the crap I’d had to wear in previous years, and well, they seemed filled with magical properties. I played my best ever season for the school football team, dazzling all and sundry – I think, I can’t remember at all if truth be told, but the boots filled me with a belief that I could do great things on the pitch. And that was enough for me.

Funny that, how a man’s special aura transferred itself via an inanimate object into the mind of a kid from East Yorkshire. Imagine how it affected the people in Argentina. Imagine the grief they are feeling now.

Here are some of the reactions from them and around the world:

 

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