In our first trip down Memory Lane we remember the great Diego Maradona.
Maradona at the peak of his powers epitomised everything that I hope to see when I watch live sport, but that you very rarely get to witness. The moments when it is patently clear that you are watching greatness. When you are in no doubt that you are witnessing someone who is pushing the boundaries of what is generally thought possible in a sport.
Most top sports stars these days are manufactured and polished. Products of hours and hours of technical development, tactical analysis, precision training, nutrition, gym and media work. No less impressive for the dedication involved and the blood sweat and tears required to reach the top. But watching Maradona was different. This was someone born to play football, playing a different game to everyone else.
To me this was most evident in his swagger and arrogance, and the sheer enjoyment and passion that he showed in playing the game he loved and in teasing and demoralising his opponents.
There isn’t much to add to what has been written about his playing career, the Hand of God, that goal against England or his trials and tribulations off the pitch. There are two small things however that I particularly enjoy when I think of him.
The first is a video from the 1989 UEFA Cup semi-final between Napoli and Bayern Munich. The footage is from the warm up, and perfectly illustrates the Maradona personality, ego, and artistry in all its glory. His laces undone, at one with the ball and lost in his own world, but at the same time totally aware that the eyes of the footballing world are studying his every move.
It shows the ultimate showman at his brilliant best.
The second is a quote by the Argentine writer and cartoonist Roberto Fontanarrosa, who once wrote:
‘I don’t care what Maradona did with his life..... I care about what he did with mine.’
He will be sorely missed.