23 July 2004

Diego, between help offers and a surprising silence

Marina Zucchi (reporter of Clarín newspaper) giornalista@ubbi.com

“Silence is health”. This is what an old expression says, but for Maradona it is really hard to understand if this is true or not.
Press thinks that the silence surrounding him is a healthy strategy to let the number 10 finally start his path to a full recovery. But anybody who knows Diego just a little asks how can it be that he has been in that clinic for 3 months without complaining.
The mysterious silence of Diego and his family suprises, lets people think and generates opinions and strange assumptions that die as fast as they grow. Therefore, little insignificant news still is a big treasure for the press. Most of the Argentinian press agrees that Diego keeps asking his doctors to let him continue his treatment in Cuba, against the will of his family who tries to convince him to stay in Argentina.
Not much has been heard in the last period because of the chilly Argentinian winter of the last weeks, and Maradona stayed in the clinic with very few walks outside due to the rigid temperatures. That is why his weight increased up to 102 kg.
The person who spoke to press, instead, was his elder daughter Dalma, who broke the silence in an interview published by the "Mujer" supplement of the Clarín newspaper.
In the article she said that she is sure that her father is feeling better and her words seemed to be really true. But in any case, the biggest news has ben the proposal from FIFA to pay for his medical treatment. The proposal has been made from the president Joseph Blatter and generated a lot of discussions in Argentina.
It seems as Blatter is interested to let Diego continue his rehabilitation in one of the two prestigious clinics specialized in addiction treatments (one is located in Lugano, Switzerland, the other in Clarens, in the French canton in front of the Geneva Lake and next to the city of Montreaux).
Just by thinking of Maradona's face after the proposal, many people agree on a clear NO said by Diego. But how can it really happen? Since at FIFA they "cut his legs" in the past, their intention would be to give them back to him, but nodoby knows what Diego will think of this proposal.
"Maradona gave a lot to the world of football, and now it's up to football to help him", said the president of the Argentinian football federation, Julio Grondona, when he was asked about this. In the meantime, there has not been any official answer from Diego yet.

Everybody wants to help him
The Portuguese Eusebio, legendary star of Benfica, left his footprints in the "hall of fame"  of the Maracaná stadium, next to Pelé's ones.
Now it looks like the magic left foot will also leave his mark in that temple of football. Of course it will not happen soon, as Diego must go back to his normal life first and that's why the day of the ceremony is still unknown.
Also in the La Boca quarter of Buenos Aires it seems as within a couple of years (this is the supposed period for a full recovery) the managers of Boca Juniors can offer Maradona to be the sports manager in order to let him finally work for the team of his heart..
Of course... these are just dreams now... but there's not much more for the fans of Diego to breathe and eat in these days.