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Cuando India habla de Diego Maradona

Esta nota tiene varios meses pero creemos que puede ser interesante conocer qué cosas dicen en la India sobre nuestro Diego Maradona. Porque hay quienes piensan que él es mucho más conocido en el mundo que la Argentina.
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By P.Muraleedharan

Diego Maradona, the erstwhile emperor of the football ground, returns to international football as the coach of Argentina. Just a few days are left for the official announcement, says Luis Segura, secretary of the Argentine Football Association.

No doubt, Diego is one of the finest footballers the world has seen (if not the best!). But, would he be able to reproduce the same magic that crowned Argentina world champions in 1986 at Mexico from the sidelines? Well, the answer is both yes and no.

In the last 11 years, after his ignominious ouster from the world football stage, the footballer with the divine left foot has been having a very colourful and busy life and has remained one of the tallest soccer personalities. Even when he is watching a match, the cameras tend to stay with him!

But, it was not for the right reasons that he grabbed headlines most of the time. He was in rehabilitation camps to cure him of drug addiction, alcoholism and obesity. On more than one occasion, he has reportedly faced sudden death in hospitals. On his family front too, things were not at all that hunky-dory. He even had to contend with paternity suits, apart from a divorce.

The living legend, who celebrated his 48th birthday this Thursday, has been an unbelievable mix of superhuman talents and… a superhuman desire for self-destruction.

Cynics may say there is nothing unusual in the way Diego’s career shaped up. The son of a factory worker, though prodigiously talented, fell under the weight of fame and fortune that fell on him following his rocket-rise to soccer stardom. But, was it that simple with Diego? From boyhood, he was being told that he was the best and he could do whatever he wanted with a soccer ball. He got what he never wanted too: The most merciless of tackling. His anguished cries, though sometimes looked a little theatrical, revealed the brutality of the physical torture meted out to him by ruthless marksmen all through his soccer journey. (If only he could play in these times, when there are strong rules to rein in the ‘foul’ game!)

The frenzied adulation he got every time when he stepped onto a football pitch was more than enough to turn even the ‘soberest’ heads of saints. At times, he got carried away, it is true. He fell to the lure of cocaine, drinks, women and all kinds of vices. But, he was never untrue to football. On the pitch, he could do no wrong. For the football lovers all over the world, his feats on the ground absolved him of all his sins. He inspired a very ordinary team to greatness in 1986.

Some of the goals he scored in the Cup were just unbelievable, which showed that at work was God’s will, and Maradona was the instrument executing it! The second goal against England in the quarterfinal had the unmistakable stamp of divine in it. Like a ballet dancer on a fast forward mode, he flew past five English defenders to caress the ball into the net guarded by a nervous Peter Shilton. A goal most soccer lovers consider as the most beautiful one in a World Cup match. In the next World Cup, he took a rag-tag Argentine team to the verge of another triumph, where they lost by a penalty goal to Germans.

He has had only two brief spells as a coach with clubs in Argentina, both of which were not very successful. All the other three coaches who were considered for the post have far better credentials. Diego’s 1986-teammate Sergio Batista has taken the Argentine team to a gold medal finish at Beijing Olympics. Miguel Angel Russo’s team, San Lorenzo, is top of the national league, and Carlos Bianchi topped the opinion polls. But, when Maradona, one whom the Argentines revere as part of their alternative Holy Trinity-comprising Diego, Che Guevera and folk saint Gauchito Gil-enters the stage, mortal rules and conventions have no chance!

Would he be able to show the same magic, with which he made football a willing slave to his velvet boots, and make the team perform magically? With his emotional and brutally frank outbursts, would he be able to hold the team together? (Like when he criticized Lionel Messi as being too selfish.) Would he ruffle the feathers of the superstars in the team as the media continue to follow him like a pack of hungry wolves thirsting for ‘bytes’? Would his godly status in Argentina plummet if the fortunes of his team nose-dive?

Questions such as these, on his coaching abilities, galore. But, there are those who believe in him too, like Napoli's former president, Corrado Ferlaino, who says that from his second season with the Serie A club, Maradona was the true coach, as the players had refused to talk to the team coach Bianchi. And he was very successful. This time, the gifted one won’t be alone. He will be helped by Carlos Bilardo, his coach in 1986 and 90.

We have witnessed many a Maradona magic on the field, now are we in for some more breathtaking action conducted by him from the coaches’ bench? One thing is sure: Winning or losing, Team Maradona would have enough going to keep us hooked!

Source: India Syndicate

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