“Messi is a giant, I love it, but my father is soccer”

first_imgDiego Armando Maradona (20-9-1986, Naples, Italy) is the eldest of the five children recognized by the former soccer player and current coach of Gymnastics and Fencing of La Plata and at AS we have interviewed him to get to know him a little more and to know his opinion of many issues related to his father.First things: how are you and your family in Naples and how are you managing the confinement?Well, both my family here in Italy and Argentina. And we are carrying it like almost everyone else, meeting quarantine rules, trying every day to invent something that makes it easier for us to be home and praying that this will end soon.Tell us first hand what the situation is like in Italy.We are going through a very difficult time, because many people are dying, but the worst is happening as you know in northern Italy, Milan, Bergamo, Turin … those of the south were lucky, in quotes, that the pandemic did not attack us So much because we lock up on time. Last week we had our peak and now it looks like the curve is going down. We have to remain disciplined with the rules and not relax. Exiting now would mean taking many steps back.Like your father, you have also been a footballer. Give us a summary of your career.From nine to 17 years old I played in the lower categories of Naples. Then the club had an economic-financial crash and I had to leave. I was in the Genoa U19, in the inferiors of the Italian team, they said that I was doing well, but afterwards it is as if the light had been turned off and I did not have the character to continue progressing. I started wandering around smaller teams, but the love of soccer made me play until last year, when I had to leave it because it required a lot of sacrifice and the injuries no longer respected me as much. It was a very hard decision, because those of us who love soccer never accept withdrawal. I also played beach soccer, but my head was already being a coach … “Messi should not be judged when he retires on whether or not he won a World Cup, but on everything he gave us in the years he played” … I was going to ask you about your present and future projects and what you do.Football is stages and now I am very excited to be a coach and to go further than I could as a footballer. I have been at the Real Casarea School for two years, with boys from the year 2008, and the experience is being magnificent. And at the same time I work on a radio here in Naples, which has made me discover a wonderful world and one in which I have a lot of fun, because with coaching it is not enough to live. My dream is to become a coach of a professional team and I will do everything possible to achieve it.I have two curiosities Diego: when did you find out that he was Maradona’s son and what did you feel when you found out and when you had him in front of you for the first time?Look, I had the bad luck of not being with my old man for many years, but on the contrary, my old woman and his family always told me the truth, they never hid from me that he was my father, I knew it since I had the use of reason , and the best thing is that they raised from love towards him, never with rancor. When I had it in front of me for the first time it was shocking, imagine after so many years having the greatest footballer by your side. But the ‘shock’ lasted half an hour, then when I talk to him I do it with my father, not Maradona. I assumed it right away and our relationship is magnificent after more than three years. I am very proud to be your child.How do you get your last name Maradona and live in Naples?Well, what am I going to tell you. I was born and raised here and never had a problem. People love me, they ask me about my old man, they take pictures with me … People know what my last name is and what it entails, but I feel very proud that they love me and appreciate me because I am Diego not because I am Diego Maradona .Has the last name Maradona given you facilities or has it been a burden for playing soccer?It has been a weight more for people than for me. I was born with this surname, but legs run, people play soccer. But it is true that it was a disadvantage, I always tried to compare with my ‘old man’ in everything he did on a court, he did not go honest with me, he always expected more from me: if I played a game of six one day , It was bad; if he did excellent, it was normal. I always had to make it excellent because my last name is Maradona, and there is no one who makes every game excellent, nobody. “Being called Maradona has been more of a burden for people than for me. But it is true that it was a disadvantage, I always tried to compare myself with my” old man “in everything I did on a court” “It is not easy being Diego Armando Maradona. He had his mistakes, but he knows it, he does not need anyone to tell him” This one was waiting for me. Look, many idiots changed the words that I always said and I will be very clear once and for all: Messi is a giant, I love him, much more than Ronaldo (Cristiano), but much more, and I argue with people when they compare him with my old man, because terrestrials do not compare to aliens. I also get angry when they mess with him in Argentina, ‘leave the kid alone’, I tell them, because we have to enjoy him, because after my old man he is the greatest in the history of football. I have a lot of love and admiration for Messi, and for me he does not deserve the criticism he receives. Although I would love to see him, Messi does not need to win a World Cup to be bigger, he is huge, and I will not judge him when he retires, and people should not do it either, in case he won a World Cup or not, but for everything that he gave us in the years he played, so he made us enjoy soccer. Now, comparing him to my ‘old man’ does not hold up, because Diego Armando Maradona is so great, he is soccer. And I don’t say it because he is my ‘old man’, but because I talk to people and he cries when he refers to him, because of how he played, what he did on a court. My ‘old man’ is not going to be matched or compared to anyone else.If I had to make a top 3 in history …My ‘old man’, Messi and Johan Cruyff, not Pelé. Because, along with Diego Armando Maradona and Lionel Messi, Cruyff was the only one who was able to do something new in football, first as a player and then as a coach.Does he talk about soccer with his father?Yes, very much, we watch many football matches together and we debated. In addition, he is a coach, my dream is to be one too, so we have many conversations about football out there.center_img What opinion do you have of the debate that is installed in the world of soccer about who is better, if his father or Messi, and what do you think of the Argentine of Barcelona? The Bernabéu applauded his father after scoring a great goal with Barça against Real Madrid, in a League Cup Classic. Has he ever told you if he had the opportunity to play for Madrid?In Italy it is true that he rejected blank checks from Agnelli, from Berlusconi, but he never told me that there was not even an opportunity to play for Madrid. We chatted a lot about his time at Naples, because Barcelona’s, although my old man did well there, that serious injury he had weighed heavily on him. Also, what am I going to tell you as a fan of Naples … I’m glad that Barcelona ended soon and came here to make it even bigger, because also if it hadn’t happened that way, I wouldn’t have been born.What impacts you the most when you read, hear or see something from your father’s past: everything he was able to do as a footballer or the extra-sports stories he starred in?Of course, sports. But I am his son, not a judge, I am nobody to tell my ‘old man’ if he did wrong or right. He is very smart and aware of everything he did, and whether he did it right or wrong. I challenge anyone to find someone who is not wrong. I understand him, because it is not easy to be Diego Armando Maradona. He had his mistakes, but he knows it, he doesn’t need me to tell him. He does need and deserves to be told that he was the greatest in football history.What do you remember as the best moment in your father’s football life?I was a newborn, but they say that 1986 and 1987 were my father’s most glorious years, with the World Cup with Argentina and the Scudetto with Naples. Later, the other soccer moments that my ‘old man’ could have in his life were stolen by FIFA, with the World Cups of 1990 and 1994, which I think would also have been won by the albiceleste.I ask about Juan Román Riquelme. How do you see him as vice president of Boca and how do you see the relationship with his father, after they loved each other so much later they fought?What I am going to do as vice president of Boca does not matter to me, because I am a fan of River, so I want it to go wrong. Now, what he did as a player is indisputable, because he was great. But as a person I never liked him, and more since he turned against my ‘old man’. “I am very excited to be a professional coach and go further than I could as a footballer” Why do you think Ancelotti’s Naples didn’t work?Because there was no connection between the locker room and the coaching staff, that was the big problem. The first year was very good, because Naples was second, unfortunately behind Juventus, a team that I hate, but which is one step above the rest. But this year things started badly, with many problems in the locker room and how to manage the situation, and I did not expect that from a coach like Ancelotti. And then, from a soccer point of view, Carletto tried to play in a way that was difficult with the players he had. I, in that, am of the Bielsa style: you must play according to the style of players you have and not change your mind, and, above all, be convinced of what you do and convince your footballers.Do you like Gattuso’s Naples?Gattuso seems to me a very good coach. Everyone talks about the motivational part that permeates the players, but it is that in all the teams he has been in he has done well, and that is because there is technical-tactical work behind it, and in Naples he is showing it . In football you also need luck and I hope you have it in Naples.Thank you very much for having attended us.To you and greetings to Spain.last_img read more