Maradona never stopped dimming his light in the world of football. No matter how many newer players have sprung up, how many talents amazed thousands of pairs of eyes, and how many beautiful dances adorn the field, they will never be able to get rid of the name Maradona in the grasp of the world.
Right on October 30, 1960, or about 59 years ago, the legendary player from Argentina named Diego Armando Maradona was born into the world. He was born in the city of Lanus but spent much of his childhood in Villa Fiorito, an area south of Buenos Aires.
Growing up in the middle of the poorer areas of the capital, Maradona could still enjoy the game he loved, which is football. At the age of 10, he joined the youth team Argentinos Juniors. The club became his first professional club after he signed a professional contract with Argentinos in 1976. Together with Argentinos, Maradona made 167 appearances before moving to Boca Juniors in 1981.
The name of Maradona began to be known in 1982, precisely at the World Cup. Although unable to lead Argentina to be champions, his ability succeeded in capturing the attention of Barcelona. With a fee of five million pounds, Maradona moved to his Catalan club.
Although noting several glorious achievements including the Copa del Rey and the Spanish Super Cup, his trip to Barcelona was not really happy. Starting from being convicted of hepatitis, severe ankle injuries due to hard tackling by Athletic Bilbao player Andoni Goikoetxea, and often arguing with the club’s president, Josep Lluis Nunez.
Because he did not feel at home and wanted to leave immediately, Maradona was finally assessed by the Serie A club, Napoli. July 5, 1984, became an unforgettable day for Napoli. That day, Diego Armando Maradona officially moved to Italy. Instead of footballing in the far more prosperous Northern Italy, with teams of wealth, history and top players, Maradona preferred to play in southern Italy.
Maradona’s arrival in the City of Naples was like a God. He was worshiped, welcomed happily, and many fans were looking forward to his shoulders.
Even so, the arrival of Maradona to Naples did not immediately open the story.
Maradona began to be truly known to the world at the 1986 World Cup mat. In the event held in Mexico, he became the captain of the Argentine national team and played fully for the national team. He also successfully recorded five goals and five assists, including two legendary goals in the last eight match against the England national team, which made him successful in registering himself as one of the best footballers in the world while bringing Argentina to become the world champion.
It was this success at the World Cup that eventually snaked to the club level. In the 1986/87 season or two years after his arrival, Napoli managed to break the success of teams from Northern Italy. At that time, Maradona was assisted by a young defender, Ciro Ferrara, and new players, Andrea Carnevale and Fernando De Napoli to win the Serie A trophy.
On that day, precisely on 10 May 1987, the match took place in Week 29 of Serie A 1986/87 at the Stadio San Paolo between Napoli and Fiorentina. The score was as strong as 1-1 since the 30th minute. On the other hand, the main rival I Partenopei in fighting over the Scudetto, Juventus, was playing with the same score.
Napoli supporters who were present at the Stadio San Paolo continued to glance at the big clock on the scoreboard. Seconds by seconds felt like years to them as they were waiting for the whistle sounded the game was over.
Thus it was reasonable if the supporters could not wait for the game to end. They also hope that Juventus did not add a goal until the final minutes of the match.
However, that day, the prayers of the City of Naples were answered. The referee blew a long whistle marking the end of the last match. At the same time, Hellas Verona was able to hold Juventus 1-1.
That day, all of Naples’s supporters immediately went down to the field to celebrate the first Scudetto in the club’s history. Flames of fire were ignited in the stands of the San Paolo Stadium as if Mount Vesuvius was re-issuing its lava. They immediately sought their hero, the young man from Argentina, Diego Armando Maradona.
Maradona’s choices made people in Argentina and the City of Naples considered him to be more than a footballer. They felt Maradona was a leader, even a god.
Together with Napoli, Maradona successfully won two Serie A titles (1987 and 1990), and one UEFA Cup title (1989). He then moved from Naples in 1991 to join Sevilla from 1992 to 1993, before finally going home to Argentina. In Argentina, This Hand of God defended Newell’s Old Boys in (1993) and Boca Juniors (1995 to 1997) before finally deciding to retire.
Since it was first established on August 1, 1926, Napoli has won 10 prestigious trophies, including the Scudetto, Coppa Italia, Supercoppa Italiana, and the UEFA Cup. Among all of those, half were achieved with Maradona.
The success of the Argentinian man with Napoli has never been repeated since he left the City of Naples on March 25, 1991. Since the departure of Maradona, Napoli has never returned to feel the title of Scudetto or European club competition.
It was not a one-sided love since the pride of the Naples people to Maradona was also returned by the legend. When officially decided to retire, Maradona considered Naples as the best part of his life.
“Naples will always be my second home,”
“They are my family. And I will always love them” (quoted from thesefootballtimes).