"The greatest"

"The greatest"

Tribute to Diego Armando Maradona:

I have no words to explain clearly what this man means for me. This man who gave great renown to the today glorious -thanks to him- football of Argentina. This man who never hid and always played just for playing, without mattering what somebody might have said. He who took the law in his hands to revenge against the English -yes, in his "hands", even though he sealed it with his feet (in a fantastic way!)- he was the man who punished the villains and awarded the humble ones, he did not forget that people go to the stadium and pay the ticket to see a spectacle made by the players and that the referee must be there only to assure that this spectacle really happens. He did this. People started thinking that God reincarnated in a man to play soccer; the only reason to doubt this theory is the lack of mercy that he had with the English, totally impossible fact if we consider the great mercy of God. But the doubt is still on. This man that people call Pelusa, Diez, Maestro, El Mejor, or simply "THE DIEGO".

The article "The" differences the consequent noun from the other Diegos, these only have the pride to be called like him, nothing else (so all the people who are called Diego, if you have not done it yet, give thanks to your parents), however, Pelusa is unique. There should be no doubt about this, because there will never be anyone like him. This is because everybody, interested in soccer or not, knows who Maradona is, and I - within the group of lovers - say without no place to doubt that Maradona, was, is and will be the best player that ever existed on Earth. He was superior to any mortal of this planet. There had never been anybody on the field doing the same things as Diego. And there are some person who adfirm that there have been some players better than Maradona! I say: "Who? Pelé? Not at all, please!" He has always played with great champions such as Vavá, Didí, Garrincha, Tostao, Rivelino, Jairzinho, Gerson, etc.; while Diego played (with all the respect for these players), with Carnevale, Romano, Ferrario, De Napoli, Giordano, Garella, Bruscolotti and with the Argentine team, world champion in 1986, with Zelada, Clausen, Almirón, Batista, Olarticoechea, Giusti, Garre, Trobbiani, etc. We have to say that many of these were very good players but they are not as famous as those Brazilian players named before. Can you imagine what Diego could have done if he had played with the famous Milan stars of 1989 such as Van Basten and Ruud Gullit? Pelé finished his career in the USA, a country where people do not know yet if the ball is rounded or squared, while Diego can't feel to be a former-player, he can't leave his greatest love - the ball, of course -. What some wise decisions are Diego's ones: can you imagine Romeo leaving Juliet, this is one of those things who have no reason to be. Today Diego does not wear anymore his own blue and white #10 jersey of Argentina, but we all know that he is still the greatest of all, and that he can always come back. Pelé has never played in such a difficult football as the Italian one, while Maradona did it and had some great results in a much more difficult football than the one of Pelé's years. If this is not enough, the envy by Edson Arantes against Diego is so clear that every time he can he speaks against Maradona; furthermore, he has become a politician and a liar. Diego never cared about what he was saying, that is why he had several enemies. Pelé is the only one worth to be named because even though he stays many stairs below Diego, he was a great player; about the others, there is no need to talk about them, because they are an Aconcagua down, the only one who could stay not this low is the Dutchman Johan Cruyff. Sometimes it is difficult to debate about this, because if one thing is 100% right and eombody does not admit it, then this means that he does not want to change his wrong opinion.

Maradona was the best, even though he almost always played in weaker teams and clubs, he started in a small team and put it among the greatest ones, and even when he went away he left a heritage that led Argentinos Juniors to the final of the Intercontinental Cup against Juventus. Then he went to Italy and led Napoli to the top in Europe. And he made all of this alone, he was the man of the match, he never played with strong teammates but he always played for the other ten of his team with great altruism, you can say that he was the team.

Diego was the best being sick, he always played with problems - anyway, he was the greatest. Then you should think what he could have done without drugs, then all the world might have admitted that Diego Maradona was the best. But this does not matter to all the people who really know about football and love this game. Nobody can be a judge for what Diego has done, because nobody is not guilty. He was victim of a disease that affected and keeps affecting many people, then why not to help him? Not only people don't help him, but they also accuse him and disturb him every day. Argentine reporters, please, let our greatest idol live in peace!

Diego has always been the best, he was the best at 20 years and he is the best still today. When he went to Spain, a big amount of money was paid and still today, with the great increase of the soccer transfers, it is a big sum and one of the records of Argentine soccer. That is why we can't say how much he would be paid today, if he were still at the beginning of his career, but for sure it would be a number with several zeros, that would surpass in several tens of millions the amount the Brazilian Ronaldo quotes at the moment. Some time ago, Japanese industralists offered a sum of about 20 million dollars for a 36-years-old Maradona.

It is difficult to describe the characteristics of Diego, that is why I am going to mention a great truth written by Juvenal in the El Gráfico magazine: "The difference between the genius and the rich of talent is that the latter makes perfectly the things that are already invented, and the genius invents what does not exist. A rich of talent solves problems that are difficult to be solved and can do it in a brilliant way. A genius solves the things that can't, reasonably, be solved. For this reason, Maradona was a permanent generator of surprises, an admirable manufacturer of the unexpected thing, the different thing". For sure, Maradona was like this, he had, has and will have the best foot of soccer ever, but in addition he has the gift of invention. I have seen him inventing, with a great creativity and imagination, impossible plays, like, to make an assist in the area where there was no place to do it, make assists with "rabonas" (a typical movement by Maradona) with a surprising precision, some goals which are impossible for a simple mortal, shots on the posts or that passed very close and were not goals that today would be remembered like some of the best ones in history (like that play in Wembley in 1979, or one against Colombia in the qualifying matches of 1985 that went so close to the goal, or so many others with the jersey of Napoli), etc. Another characteristic of Diego is the power he used to avoid the defenders. It becomes impossible for his rivals to stop him: if to its great technique with the feet we add his strength and speed, it is totally impossible. For that reason, the worst sin that can be committed with Diego is to let him go, in fact when he runs it is impossible to stop it allowedly. Not to speak of his scoring skills, although Diego was not a natural born scorer, like Gabriel Batistuta or Martín Palermo, with his characteristics it becomes very easy for him to be continuously a friend of the goal, and this lets him have the same scoring capacity as these two great attackers who differ from Diego in their evident lack of technique; being several times top scorer in Argentine and Italian championship demonstrates this theory. And if this were not enough, Diego plays for his teammates. He handles the game, he creates the plays, he handles the times and he makes assists for his companions with a goal assist or plays where it is clear that he is not egoistic. In addition nobody doubts that he is the idol, leader and undisputed chief in all the teams where he played, simply for one reason, to play.

In addition to the technical characteristics already named, Maradona has an extraordinary resistance, his opponents gave him terrible kicks and he kept having the ball and continued running, although the pain was unendurable. This means to be strong. Resistance is also when in the difficult moments you must take all the team in your hands and take it beyond the obstacle. These are the true concepts to be strong. And there are people like Hernán Diaz who talk in tv who are some barbarians, but later when somebody caresses them, they fall to the ground as if somebody had stabbed him 35 times. Diego always wanted to play, it is enough to remember all the matches when he could not do it and however he entered the field doing thousands of wonders; if you do not remember when he led us to the final in the world cup of 1990 with a destroyed ankle or when in the American Cup of 1987 he hit the crossbar from the centre of the field when playing against Uruguay.

But Argentine people forget this, that is incomprehensible, sometimes I think and I am full of pride just to think that Diego was born in the same province as I. To me the skin bristles and the eyes become damp when I see old videos of Maradona doing impossible things in a match, a very difficult to explain feeling of admiration crosses all my body. That admiration is the one that convinced me to pay a lot of money for a ticket of a bad location on the stadium and to go until the Boca with some friends only to see him when I was just 15 years old. Maradona is recognized world-wide and all the other countries would have given everything only to have Diego as one more citizen of the nation. But the Argentineans we mistreat our idols; that is why we must make a tribute to him, building for him a monument or something, or, even better, that Julio Grondona retires once and for all the #10 jersey of the National team. I know that there are many people all over the world that adore Diego, without making distinctions: white or black, weak or powerful, western or eastern, catholic or protestant, fans of Boca or River, any race, creed, social condition, nor of any other nature, all these always were astonished before each presentation of the King of Soccer; but there are also some people who do not remember or they do not know what Maradona did for us. For all those people I ask them to remember the following things and that please they react:

- He let Argentina be respected and admired for soccer in the world. He filled the country of glory and prestige during the years of his career. The admiration was not only for soccer, and our country is not known by great amount of people in the world, and only pronouncing the magical word "Maradona" people begin to deal with us with a little more respect considering us important.

- He humiliated the English in a way that will be remembered forever.

- In 1988 Maradona rejected 100 million dollars for Argentina. It seems that some North American industralists offered this millionaire sum to him if he dedicated from 1989 to promote soccer in the United States since they saw the 1994 world cup as a great business and needed to interest people, if he accepted the North American citizenship. According to the words by Guillermo Cóppola to El Gráfico, Diego did not consider the offer seriously and when he found out he said to him: " The nationality is a feeling and the feelings have no price ".

- In 1985 he said - and did -, that nothing or nobody would prevent him to come to Buenos Aires to play in the national team against Paraguay. And this did not force him to consequences nor sacrifices. They imposed to him to return to play for Napoli against Udinese, and he actually went back to Italy. He scored a goal for Argentina and the following Sunday he scored twice for Napoli. When the match was over, he showered, took a car, travelled to Trieste to rent a particular small plane and at 9 pm of that same day he was in Fiumicino to take the airplane of Aerolineas Argentinas that took him to Buenos Aires again to play a short while later against Chile. In Italy people could not believe it. And they were astonished by his act of love towards Argentina.

- He managed to end the hegemony of the rich and powerful North of Italy, locating the Napoli, a humble club of the south that every year competed not to lose the category, among the best ones in Europe. And think that, at least for some years, he managed to take the south above the north. And he did such a difficult thing alone - the only good one could be the Brazilian Careca- and even better with the same feat, an Argentinean, once and for all, gave a real lesson to the most competitive and expensive soccer in the world.

And if this does not make you reflect, think that the best player of all the times of the most popular game on Earth was born in the land of the Argentineans; at least give thanks to God! Learn to feel pride for this reason and when you travel abroad remember that you can inflate the chest and boast to share the nationality with Maradona. Nobody will be able to clear that pride from me, that of having seen the best player in the world. And to a myth that not even time will be able to win, the unique thing that time does is to increase the legend. I do not believe that there is such a stupid person who does not recognize what Diego has done. For all the things already said and many things more, I know for sure that everybody, absolutely everybody, the Argentineans, even if they are "antimaradona" (I am sure that the "antimaradona" do not have that anti for soccer reasons, but for their obstinacy), deep in their heart they give and will give thanks to him. But there were many people who used Diego, who used his figure to earn fame and power, and who did not care about the person. There are a lot of people who claim to be his friends and when he really suffered they disappeared; the list is interminable. For this reason there are very few people who are still with him. But beyond all these people, there is one who does not deserve respect for the things he did to Diego: Cesar Luis Menotti (people of Independiente, please understand that this man is a liar, you have not yet realized that there is a total contradiction between what he does and what he says), I clarify that I am not bilardista, because I do not like his game, already recognized like against soccer and if Bilardo obtained what obtained in the national team, it happened because in those years Maradona was playing. It is necessary to emphasize that Bilardo acted well taking care of him and giving him all the necessary privileges. This should have been the obvious and basic procedure for any coach who knows something of soccer, but Menotti did not even consider him for the world cup of 1978, lack of respect and also advantage for the opponents, how can it be that Diego is left outside from the best and the most important event, this does not have logic, all the people who have a small piece of brain know such an elementary thing. For a person who thinks like this, there are many reasons to consider him not serious. Leaving Maradona out of the team for his unexperience is a stupidity, when there is a player with great aptitudes the experience is not an important thing, as long as he has the necessary talent not to have possible problems in the field, and furthermore the younger the great player, the better the yield; Diego showed it that same year, becoming top scorer of the Argentine championship. Although Argentina was champion (I prefer to think for the good of Argentine soccer that the national team was the best one of the world cup but even so I still have many doubts left) Menotti committed a sin against soccer and if to that we add his continuous lies, he should be fired once and for all from the world of soccer.

I conclude with a message for Diego: please don't leave us, Argentine and world-wide soccer needs you, the Boca needs you, the "Doce" (the fanatic supporters of Boca) need you, we all need you. Although you already gave much to us, even too much I would say, that is why there is only one thing left to tell you: thanks for everything Diego, simply thanks.

Isidro Bernabé Santos, República Argentina

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