The cult of Maradona runs robust in Naples


It is almost 30 years since Diego Maradona ended his outstanding enjoying spell at Napoli however a yr on from his demise on the age of 60 the Argentine nice is as current as ever within the Neapolitan world.

His identify is stitched on to shirts, daubed on the partitions of the southern Italian metropolis and etched into the hearts of the folks, lots of whom are too younger to have ever seen him play.

And on Thursday, the primary anniversary of his demise, a bronze statue will likely be unveiled in entrance of the stadium which now bears his identify — Stadio Diego Armando Maradona — to have a good time the “eternal” hyperlink with the “Pibe de Oro”, the golden boy.

Diego is in every single place, from the central station all the way in which to the official Napoli retailer the place his face stares out from the stylised fingerprint on the jersey within the window.

The shirt, worn by the Napoli gamers in November, might be one of many final to be discovered within the metropolis. Produced in restricted numbers and bought for charity, these collector’s version jerseys have lengthy bought out on the membership’s web site.

For those that set sail for Naples in reminiscence of Maradona, the primary cease is commonly Mario Filardi’s well-known fresco within the Spanish Quarter painted in 1990 and restored in 2016.

It is a meandering stroll from the ferry terminal and the wandering pilgrim is bound to go different photos painted on the partitions in addition to posters for the movie “The Hand of God”, Paolo Sorrentino’s homage to the Naples of the 1980s which is launched this Wednesday in cinemas in Italy.

But the stroll to the Spanish Quarter is value it.

“It was important to come”, says Aicha, 17, who braved heavy rain to come back to meditate in entrance of the well-known mural which reveals a shaggy-haired Maradona in Napoli’s powder blue shirt working earnestly in direction of aim.

It is in a humble surrounding, set again from the street, typically discovered with a few vehicles parked in entrance.

But this yard is devoted to the worship of “god” Maradona, and adorned with images, flags, jerseys and different relics left by the soccer trustworthy.

Aisha got here all the way in which throughout Italy from Bari on the east coast, round 260 kilometres, along with her household to “see the way the city remembers him”.

“You can see that it’s not just Napoli shirts, but most of the teams he’s played with, and pictures of him as a player and also as a man,” she instructed AFP.

“It’s interesting how normal people, not just supporters, bonded with him.”

Facundo Perez, 26, an Argentinian living in Europe, additionally got here specifically to Naples to “greet” Maradona, a yr after his demise.

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