Maradona Returns to the Land He Covered in Glory
A decade after managing the national team and almost 25 years after his last managerial stint in Argentina, Diego Maradona—God—is back.
Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata has appointed the 58-year-old to save them from relegation. Rooted to the bottom of the Primera División with just one solitary point after six games, El Lobo is hoping that El Diego can keep them in the top flight.
The unveiling of his hiring took place in front of thousands of people and was quite emotional. And it’s poetic that Maradona’s first game in charge was against Racing Club, last season’s champions—and one of his former employers. In the next couple of weeks, Maradona’s men will have to face tough tests against Talleres and River Plate, before the schedule eases up with matches against Godoy Cruz and Unión.
The eccentric Argentine is the greatest character in the history of soccer. Maradona’s rise to fame, his time at the top and his inevitable downfall are almost mythical. Rarely has a sport seen a man as complex and impactful as El Diego.
Maradona has always been a champion and a patron saint for the oppressed and the marginalized, due to his humble beginnings. When he joined Napoli in 1984, he would not only write his name into the history books, but also become a God-like figure for a city in turmoil, as this incredible piece by Carlo Garganese highlights.
After single-handedly dragging Argentina to World Cup glory and turning Napoli from oppressed minnows into an Italian powerhouse, Maradona’s life rapidly spiraled into chaos. Drug abuse, sex scandals, and connections to the Mafia led to Diego’s rapid decline. The breathtaking documentary “Diego Maradona” by Asif Kapadia and this amazing episode of the “We Came To Win” podcast shine the spotlight on Maradona’s life of extremes.
It remains to be seen if God can perform miracles at Gimnasia or if this job will be another nail in the coffin of a dying management career.
Illustration by @jamieorrell
This story was featured in one of our newsletters. You can see the full email here.