By 11.30am the Doha midday sun was blazing hot. The tribute to Diego Maradonain the second anniversary of his deathwas held today in the house that Conmebol set up in the center of the Qatari capital, next to the Souq Waqif market.
Nearly 15 champions of the Argentine National Team arrived minutes before and settled in for the act led by the FIFA president, Gianni Infantinohis South American soccer peer, Alejandro Dominguezand the owner of AFA, Claudio Tapia. Some 200 people, including journalists, Argentine fans and some foreigners, participated.
Infantino, the owner of the FIFA business in this World Cup, asked that there be “a Maradona day” in all the world cups hereinafter. Meanwhile, most of the former teammates of the greatest idol of the Argentine National Team were moved.
Jorge Valdano arrived a little late and security wouldn’t let him in on the small plot of about 15 meters by 10 meters where “the House of Conmebol” was set up. The same fans pointed out the error to the security officers. He took off his shirt to put on a special shirt that all champions wore.
It is known that Valdano’s training, during and after his football career, was quite different from that of the rest of his teammates. He barely began to speak, and with very careful words, “El Negro” Enrique and Batista, who stood in the sunbeam, commented something under their breath and laughed as they looked at the “professor”. In those little jokes, probably, also lay the spirit of that 86 team. Maradona’s.
Valdano spoke on behalf of his colleagues: “The privilege of the generation is to have shared its most glorious momentHe came to the World Cup with the purpose of being the best in the world. Like the great masters of painting, he made sketches, like the match against Uruguay. He chose his definitive work against England, the right rival, at the right time. Since That day became a legend, it became a symbol”.
Among those present were Argentine soccer legends such as the 1978 champions Daniel Bertoni, Ubaldo Fillol, Julio Ricardo Villa, Mario Kempes, Omar Larrosa and Alberto Tarantini. Sergio Batista, Ricardo Bochini, Oscar Ruggeri, Jorge Burruchaga, Ricardo Giusti, Carlos “Chino” Tapia and Hector “Negro” Enrique They were among those who lifted the cup in Mexico 86. They were joined by other former National Team players, such as Juan Pablo Sorin, Diego Simeone, Javier Zanettiand the technical director Jose Pekerman.
The head of FIFA entered and immediately began to sing the chorus of Rodrigo’s song “La Manos de Dios”: “Olé, olé, olé, Diego, Diego”, he harangued. At the time of the speech, the head honcho of the international federation proposed to honor the former captain of the National Team in each World Cup. “When they told me about this tribute, it took me just a second to accept,” he said.
The FIFA president also said that not only should we honor him, but also celebrate the figure of the star. “I would like that in each World Cup, starting now, there is a day in which we celebrate Diego Armando Maradona“, he claimed.
“There are very few who have done what he did with football. I am from Inter and from Italy, but we love Diego, we love him,” he added. He also highlighted the bond he forged with Maradona upon reaching the FIFA leadership. “He has been a great leader in Argentina and throughout the world,” he said.
“We would have wanted Diego to be in this World Cup with us, but he is in our hearts”he added.
The Conmebol tribute invited the press with the message: “Under the star of 10. For the anniversary of his departure, we invite you to celebrate the victories of the incomparable Diego Armando Maradona. A journey through the historical achievements of an exponent who left South American football on high throughout the world.
The situation got completely out of the hands of the organization. María Mercedes Pérez, the wife of Alejandro Domínguez, watched from the side with some anger and some fear. “But these people can’t go like this,” she commented to a person from the organization while people jumped over the ropes that should separate the protagonists from the public. “Is that we did not expect this. We didn’t know that so many people would come.”they answered him in the midst of the unstoppable overflow.
In the afternoon, there will be special memories of Maradona. In the Fan Fest, and in the Souq Waqif market, in the corner known as “the one with the finger” (because of the monument that is there), there will be another demonstration starting at 7:30 p.m.