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A year without Maradona | I relived Diego’s unforgettable visit to Misiones and his magnificent goal from midfield

May 9, 1992 is not another day in the rich history of Misiones. Some even dare to say that their life was a before and after after that journey.

There were many, but at the same time few, the lucky ones who had the possibility, that afternoon, to be present at the Clemente Argentino Fernández de Oliveira Stadium, located in Villa Sarita.

The number of people who filled the stands varies according to the narrator, but everyone agrees that the court has never been that way again.

On May 9, 1992, Diego Armando Maradona attended a soccer match to benefit the Children’s Pavilion of the Madariaga Hospital. “El Diego” scored three goals in the mission capital, but everyone remembers the third.

The day that Diego, with the National Team, invented two “works of art” against England

One year without Maradona, the quarterfinal match of Mexico 86 is remembered, which was played first in the foot and hand of the idol and, ten years later, in his language. When biology began to make it difficult for him to build an epic with his legs, Diego began to feed the legend of the Azteca with words, as if he were putting subtitles on his work.

Argentina-England was played in two instances: first in the hand and foot of Diego Maradona, on June 22, 1986, and then in the language of its inventor, a decade later. Although a heretical theory sounds, the match of the two goals with their own name (“The Hand of God” and “The Cosmic Kite”) did not become an immediate legend: he hibernated for a while, awaiting his second birth, the final one, too. by Maradona, the anatomist of Argentine emotions.

The captain of the national team was only 25 years old when he arrived at Nirvana in Mexico 86 and he had a thick stroke of his career ahead of him: in the following seasons he continued to make a brush of his left leg, without looking in the rear-view mirror what he already had. had drawn. Thus it advanced until another World Cup final, in 1990, and in Naples it did not change the heartbeat of a club but of a city. It was followed by the first positive doping, the betrayal of Menemism upon returning to the country and its heroic, impossible returns, like a Greek fight between gods and titans, a Maradonian titanomachy.

Maradona’s Cosmic Kite.

In the end the last Diego would arrive, that of the 1994 World Cup, and his return to Boca, already in the postscript of his exploits, but during all that time Maradona never – or almost never – made reference to the game against England or even an apology for the Malvinas war as a polluting factor. The 2-1 for the quarterfinals of Mexico 86 remained behind another image of him, that of 10 lifting the World Cup after the final against Germany. The world champion Maradona was ahead of the avenger Maradona of the homeland.

Diego’s famous Hand of God before the English.

It was also a time when soccer only lasted on Sundays, not a seven-day-a-week reality show. In 1986 and in the following years, in Argentina there were no specialized newspapers, cable television, advertisements with epic locutions or a multiplication of sports journalism schools (and in the world, of course, there were no mobile devices or social networks). Big corporations, Arab sheiks, and American or Russian tycoons had no glimpse of the business. Maradona was returning from Italy and leaving through the main gate of the Ezeiza airport.

The selection traveled in economy class. Football always exaggerated life and the World Cup always exaggerated football, but then much less than now. Innocence and the ball would say goodbye after a few years, just at the same time as Maradona’s retirement. Something similar would happen with Víctor Hugo Morales’ account of the second goal: it was not an immediate success but it passed by, or rather it was waiting to be rescued by the future. “Cosmic kite” would become popular as sacred music from the nineties, with new technologies.

That epic on hold for 10 years around the game against England also corresponded with the manual of political corrections, half-truths and harmless omissions that Maradona, like most Argentine players, had used to avoid the morbidness of the most hyperbolic crossover .

In the hours before the game, just four years after the war, Diego and his family had declared that “no”, that “we are not going to think about the Malvinas”, that “soccer cannot be mixed with war”, that “I do not speak about politics”, that “it would be a lack of respect for our dead who are buried in the islands”, that “it will only be a simple party”.

A year without Maradona
A year without Maradona

Only when Maradona fulfilled another of his requirements to become a hero, his arm wrestling against tragedy, that feat of June 22, 1986 returned to the scene. And it was then, on the border of his retirement, that Maradona emphasized the warlike edge of June 22, 1986: first lukewarmly in 1996, on the 10th anniversary of the game, and later as a former player, with the volcanic lava that he would launch in his most complex years.

When biology began to make it difficult for him to build an epic with his legs, Maradona began to feed the legend of Azteca with words, as if he put subtitles on his work, and then he said that “we defeated a country”, and that “I played against England thinking about Malvinas “, and that” in our skin was the pain of all the kids who had died “, and that” it was crazy but we felt that way “, and that” sentimentally I made the English players guilty of what it had happened ”, and that“ this was to recover something from the Malvinas ”, and that“ we were defending our flag, the dead kids, the survivors ”, and that“ in the Malvinas we didn’t even have chocolate cannons ”.

On his own account, alone and without a sports and social fabric that surrounded him – if he had been a tennis player, if he had been stateless – Maradona would not have built his legend in that match against England.

The last hero in shorts was nurtured by the complementary characters of June 22, 1986: his teammates, who made him the strangest shirt, the story of Víctor Hugo Morales, the unknown refereeing list, the loyalty of the English footballers and the memory of the soldiers who had fought in the war. Maradona made them his, and made us his, in the greatest individual consecration of a footballer in a match. And just as a famous Mexican, Octavio Paz, Nobel Prize for Literature, said about another famous compatriot, the actress María Félix, “She was born twice: her parents begot her and she later invented herself”, Maradona also invented two times on June 22, 1986.

Aldous McEwan

Aldous McEwan writes books, which, considering where you’re reading this, makes perfect sense. He’s best known for writing science fiction, entertainment including the bestseller Redshirts, which won the Hugo Award for Best Novel.

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