It was a cold and grey winter afternoon, with a monotony of rain outside the window. Holed up at home with my nostalgia, I got caught up in watching old clips of Maradona. I’ve watched his goals, the nutmegs, the stepovers and mesmerising plays again and again, and each time I like them more.
The first time I went to Argentina, I asked a Spanish friend if singer and Tango legend Carlos Gardel was still remembered there. “Since I've lived here, not a day has gone by where I haven't heard him on the radio. And people say that every day he signs better,” they told me.
The same is still said. And soon it will also be said that Maradona plays better every day, as these wonderful moments still have the ability to surprise even after seeing them a thousand times.
The memories of Maradona that will live on
I have also watched the grief in Buenos Aires and Napoli – a deep grief that is almost equal in magnitude to the joy that he gave during his glory years.
Hugo Maradona, who spoke the night before last on Spanish radio, said he appreciated the expressions of affection, but also deplored the reappearance of images and murky stories that were tied to his brother for years here in Spain. He need not worry, as they will not live long in the collective memory.
From here on in, few will go to the archives in search of fights, arrests or images of tomfoolery. It will be the goals, the nutmegs, the stepovers and the mesmerizing plays that will be dug out time and time again, continuing to prove that Maradona gets better each day.
Maradona: the darker side
The other side of him existed, of course. Let's not kid ourselves. Menotti wisely said of him that he was like a cat that climbed up a tree and no one told him how to get down. He was a bad example, they say. Or perhaps a good example of the harm that comes from fooling around with cocaine and the like.
He was able to have a happy retirement, surrounded by family, admiration and prestige, visiting heads of state, representing FIFA, AFA and Argentina. His addiction made him and his loved ones suffer and ultimately shortened his life. There is no better example of the ills of drug abuse.