A statue in Naples, tributes from Argentina to India: the football planet remembers Thursday its « God », Diego Maradona, who died a year ago at the age of 60, leaving the memory of gestures of genius and of a life of turmoil.
« We will miss you all of our lives. » The Argentine Football League published on the eve of the anniversary a video on the life, goals, trophies of Maradona, punctuated by the moving words pronounced in 2001, after a tribute match: « This match is over (. ..) but may never end the love you have for me ”.
Wish granted. A year after his death of a heart attack, overcome by excesses and addictions, the 1986 world champion has never ceased to receive honors.
In Argentina, statues, monuments, dozens of murals, have flourished for a year in several cities of the country and working-class neighborhoods of Buenos Aires, representing Maradona at all ages, in all postures.
These tributes culminated on October 30 for what would have been the 61st anniversary of « D10S » (pun between « God » and « 10 », its number): championship matches stopped at minute « 10 » for standing ovations, projections of images of the idol, a charity match with ex-glories of « his » Argentina team from 1986, etc.
The anniversary of his death should be more discreet and collected: a minute of silence is planned before the championship matches with the players forming the number « 10 » on the lawn. And « Diegooo, Diegooo! », Or songs to the glory of the « 10 Eterno » will undoubtedly descend from the stands.
– « god of Olympus » –
Her children have expressed their sadness on social networks. « It’s been a year since the world is more horrible because you are no longer there, » wrote his daughter Dalma (34). « I can’t stop crying, » added her sister Gianinna.
In the Villa Fiorito slum, flowers were placed in front of the small house where the champion grew up.
« It’s a strange feeling, it’s hard to believe, » said his heir on the field, Lionel Messi, in an interview with the Spanish daily Marca. « I always feel like at one point or another I’ll see him on TV, giving an interview or his opinion on a topic. »
In Naples (Italy), where the magical left-hander played for seven years, bringing the club two unprecedented titles of Italian champion and a UEFA Cup, the president of Napoli Aurelio De Laurentiis went to the « mausoleum » on Thursday dedicated to Maradona in the Spanish Quarters, the famous popular district in the very center of the city.
« This photo is wonderful, it is beautiful, it looks like an actor. Or even a god of Olympus », commented the president, quoted by the daily Il Mattino, commenting on the photo of the player adorning this mausoleum, which also includes a small altar on which the tifosi place flowers, photos and tributes.
Boca Juniors supporters also came from Argentina to deploy banners in tribute to their idol near the stadium in Naples which now bears his name.
A bronze statue of the player, commissioned by the municipality, was also unveiled on Thursday in front of the former San Paolo stadium. Another, at the initiative of the club, will be unveiled in the stadium on Sunday, before a match against Lazio Rome.
A match that the Napoli players will play, as for three weeks, with jerseys featuring the stylized face of the Argentinian, object of a lasting cult in Naples.
In India, another statue of Maradona was covered with flowers in Calcutta (northeast) and supporters gathered in front of a hotel in the state of Kerala (south) which has become a place of pilgrimage since a stay of the Argentine idol in 2012.
– Self-destruction –
But, another « legacy » of Maradona, last year in Argentina will also have seen the legal proceedings unravel.
First on the conditions of his death, with an investigation for manslaughter by negligent care.
Then on his inheritance, between five descendants – five recognized at least. Or even on the use of its trade mark. Also on the debts and expenses left behind.
Or quite recently, for a complaint from a 37-year-old Cuban woman, who had an affair with the player as a minor in the early 2000s, and who accused the idol, then cocaine addict, and her entourage of alleged violence and abuse.
“A year after his death, Diego, maker of happiness, also continues to cause pain,” La Nacion nicely summed up this week. « By the sadness of death, because we loved it so much. And by the signs of self-destruction. The great contradiction between public happiness, and private suffering. »
By Daniel MEROLLA, Philippe BERNES-LASSERRE / Buenos Aires (AFP) / © 2021 AFP