The unfinished myth of Maradona | sports

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Argentina will celebrate its first year without Diego Maradona this Thursday and will go through it in a duel. Even without a specific place of mass concentration, different enclaves of the country will become the headquarters of multiple tributes around his definitive idol, but also his unfinished, immortal myth: the ex-footballer will continue to be worshiped after his death. A recent testimony of alleged sexual abuse reinforces the debates about her immeasurable figure.

The members of the Maradoniana Church based in Rosario, 300 kilometers north of Buenos Aires, have no doubts: it will be a Thursday of mourning. “We are going to get together as in a day of no celebration, a black day. Last month, on October 30, we met for the 61DD (in reference to the 61st anniversary of his birth) and we could not speak, we cried like children ”, says Hernán Amez, one of the founders of the movement. “This Thursday will be even tougher,” he estimates.

Another worship group, the Maradonian People, called a march to the Obelisk, the symbolic center of Buenos Aires, to demand justice against the possible culprits of the former soccer player’s death. One of its members, Walter Rotundo, will not attend, but for a reason to party: “At 12 noon I have a shift at the hospital so that my son is born: my best way to honor Diego on this anniversary will be by bringing another Diego to the world, ”says Walter.

The coincidence is total because, as confirmed by the autopsy, Maradona died at noon on November 25, 2020. If Rotundo’s first two daughters, twins, are named Mara and Dona, the name of their first male child will reinforce that line. “It will be Diego Amado. It is very strong that my son is born this day ”, says the fan.

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With Maradona’s murals multiplying on the walls of Buenos Aires and the rest of the country, the Argentinos Juniors stadium – his first official club – built a sanctuary after his death in which fans lay flowers, leave balls, support flags, They light candles and place papers asking for miracles. If the improvised hermitage receives the residents of the neighborhood every day, a parade of worshipers is expected for this Thursday. “At 6 pm a new mural will be inaugurated in front of the court gate, it is a donation from club members,” says Carlos Gregoratti, manager of the Diego Maradona stadium.

Also in his native Villa Fiorito, different tributes will be held, such as a popular mass at the city’s train station, in the Buenos Aires suburbs, and a subsequent march to the Estrellas Unidas club, the continuity of the pasture team in which Maradona began. to play, the Red Star, before moving on to Argentinos Juniors. “We will open the doors at 9 in the morning and we will have various activities, such as the presentation of the book King of Fiorito”Says Claudio Villarruel, general secretary of the Estrellas, located a few meters from Maradona’s birthplace, declared a“ national historic place ”a month ago by presidential decree. The Legislature of the city of Buenos Aires also inaugurated last week the Diego Maradona corner at the intersection of Segurola and Habana, one of the houses where he lived in the 1990s.

Sanctuary dedicated to Diego Maradona in the Argentinos Juniors stadium in Buenos Aires.
Sanctuary dedicated to Diego Maradona in the Argentinos Juniors stadium in Buenos Aires. Juan Ignacio Roncoroni (EFE)

But while the launches of series, films, podcasts and books about the life, work and death of Maradona are also becoming widespread, the legal cases around the idol do not stop growing, and not only those related to inheritance and the request for justice for eventual medical responsibilities in his last hours. Mavys Álvarez, a Cuban who at the age of 16 began a relationship with Maradona during the idol’s stay on the Caribbean island – while the former soccer player was trying to recover from his cocaine addiction – arrived in Buenos Aires in recent days to present before Argentine Justice a complaint against the so-called environment of the soccer player.

The complaint filed by Álvarez’s lawyers, who in November 2001 accompanied Maradona to Buenos Aires for his farewell party, includes the crimes of alleged “illegitimate deprivation of liberty and trafficking, reduction to servitude and serious injuries due to a surgery of breast augmentation without their consent ”. But despite the fact that the accusation hardly succeeds, Álvarez – currently 37 years old – revealed in journalistic interviews that he had suffered an abusive relationship in Cuba. “Diego Maradona raped me while my mother was crying on the other side of the door,” he said.

This complaint to the media about alleged gender violence and sexual crimes against a minor, although Maradona cannot defend himself, reinforces a debate about the idol. Despite being faced with most of the powers (and for that reason many times criticized and even persecuted), Maradona also constituted a power that he sometimes used against women, as in the case of Cristina Sinagra, the mother of his first child. , Diego Junior, who took 29 years to recognize.

“It is true that he was the son of his time, but Maradona’s death symbolically marks a way of living and accepting masculinities in sport,” emphasizes Ayelén Pujol, journalist and writer. “This complaint inevitably changes something, at least it leads us to ask who our idols are. Today it is impossible to think of an idol with these characteristics and social transformations help us to initiate a collective debate ”, adds the author of What a player! A century of women’s football in Argentina.

The matches of the 22nd day of the Argentine Professional League, which began on Tuesday 23 and will end on Thursday 25 – and in which River, the eternal rival of Boca, the club for which Maradona fanned – can become champion, also toast his tribute to the idol: the players of both teams and the refereeing quartet come together in the midfield, before the matches, and form number 10. The Professional League also published a video that ends with a phrase, “I hope it never ends this love they have for me ”, which Maradona paradoxically launched in his farewell to the party for whose trip to Argentina he brought Álvarez to justice. A year after his death, that love of the people is even more alive, although it is also a time for debates.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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