Diego is gone, “God” is everywhere

Diego is gone, “God” is everywhere
Diego is gone, “God” is everywhere

From blooming murals to endlessly replayed sports tributes, from the TV series on his life to proceedings examining his death, his debts: Diego Maradona, one year after his death, remains present in the lives of millions of Argentines, entered the national pantheon at the age of 60.

Diego vit“, “10 Eternal“, “D1OS“(pun on God and N.10),”Merci Diego“Diego with the ball to the foot, Diego kissing the World Cup (1986) with angel wings, in patron saint with halo and scepter, scoring the goal of”God’s hand“against England (World Cup-1986). Diego as a child, teenager, player, bearded fifty-something, etc.

With all kinds of legends, in all kinds of postures, frescoes, sometimes giant, adorn the walls of working-class neighborhoods in Buenos Aires, particularly in La Boca. Some made before his death, more after, they immortalize the “Golden Boy“(golden kid) disappeared a year ago a few days after his 60th birthday.

He’s an idol now gone. They couldn’t make a statue for him while he was alive, so they are making murals for him, and they will multiply“, predicts Sergio, 57-year-old Maradona fan, in front of one of them showing the footballer at several ages of his life.

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A mural depicting the Argentine star with a caption that says “Diego forever” is seen on a wall in Chascomus, about 120 km south of Buenos Aires. © AFP or licensors

Between his birthday (he would have been 61 at the end of October) and the anniversary of his death on November 25, Maradona is everywhere.

On screens with an Amazon series in nine episodes “I sound blessed“(blessed dream) retracing his life, and soon on Star + (Disney) a two-hour three-part documentary”Beyond Diego“(Beyond Diego).

In the stadiums of course, with a multitude of tributes on October 30, matches stopped in the 10th minute with a minute of ovation, projection of images or hologram of Maradona, charity match with ex-glories of the Albiceleste 1986 , or soon (December 14) at Riad a “Maradona Cup“between FC Barcelona and Boca Juniors, two of the flagship clubs of his life with Napoli.

And in the street too, with monuments inaugurated here and there for a year, such as in Santiago del Estero (north) a 5 m high bronze statue, or recently in Santa Clara del Mar (south) a concrete structure of 13 meters representing Maradona juggling with her head.

This week, during the “Activism Day“which brought together several thousand demonstrators in support of the center-left Peronist government, on the T-shirts on sale at the trade union stands, three faces dominated: Peron (head of state in 1946-55 then 73-74), his marries Evita and… Maradona (who has never hidden his Peronist sympathies) Trinity of popular Argentina.

The irony is that this gloomy “first year without god“, is also a good year for Messi’s Albiceleste who has just qualified easily for the 2022 World Cup and has won in July, once the idol is gone, the Copa America, the only trophy that Maradona could not bring him.

Maradona-Messi. In the absence of the father, tempting is the question of comparison, of transmission. As in the famous fresco by Barracas (southern suburb of Buenos Aires), replica of “The Creation of Adam“by Michelangelo, where God (Maradona) gives the spark of life to Adam (Messi).

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Argentinian Lionel Messi celebrates victory with his teammates after winning the 2021 Copa America. A victory against Brazil on July 11, 2021 at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro © AFP or licensors

But the question has long been sealed. World champion breeders Cesar Menotti (1978) and Carlos Bilardo (1986), judged any comparison “useless“, the two N.10 of genius having evolved”at different times” and “in different teams“.

In the judicial section too, Maradona remains in the news. An investigation continues for “manslaughter“on his death, of a heart attack while he was in a private residence, recovering from a neurological operation: justice wants to know if Diego was not”abandoned“to a slow agony for lack of adequate care.

In separate proceedings, justice is also seized of the division of the inheritance, and his two eldest daughters, Dalma and Giannina –Maradona has recognized three other children contesting the ex-lawyer of the star the use of the mark commercial. An auction was ordered three vehicles, two houses, watches, clothes, the proceeds of which will go not to the heirs, but to the debts left by Maradona. Finally a Cuban, ex-liaison of Maradona, came this week to testify in Buenos Aires on abuses by the entourage of the ex-star, in 2001. She was 16 years old.

It is the dark side, the‘other side of “God“, escapades, excesses, addictions, which continue to resonate beyond the grave. But are also part of universal veneration, as analyzed by the great chronicler of Latin America, Eduardo Galeano: “a god a little, dirty, the most human of all gods“.

A hero with many imperfections“but who until in”its degradation“, to “sensitivity“, is “an expression of + argentinitude + “, sums up the Argentine historian Felipe Pigna.

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Portrait of the Argentinian legend exhibited during the opening of the artistic project “Like the Gods”, during the Russia 2018 World Cup in Saint Petersburg. © AFP or licensors

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