|‘Look at me – I’M EL DIEGO!’|
When I was growing up, there was always one name, one footballer in particular that really riled my Dad. This man’s name, when mentioned, was always accompanied with the word “cheat” – along with other, quite colourful phrases – so I pretty much grew up thinking that this man was the footballing-equivalent of Satan.
Of course, my father conveniently ignored the fact that Diego Maradona was a phenomenal footballer. “Dad, look at this video – look at this run!” I would gleefully exclaim, wishing that he would at least appreciate one of the finest footballers ever to grace the planet. “He’s still a cheat”, he would reply, somewhat dishearteningly.
I can usually ignore all of the negative, off-field aspects of a fantastic footballer, because it is their football that I care about, nothing else. The Hand of God doesn’t really rile me all that much – I wasn’t born in 1986, but if I had been I like to think that I would have focused more on his second goal rather than his first. Or maybe I’d have focused on Shilton being beaten to the ball with great ease by, comparatively speaking, a dwarf.
But even putting aside that infamous goal – Diego Maradona is still an almighty dickhead.
Undoubtedly, Maradona had talent. But I cannot be alone in thinking that, because of either personal issues or problems with drugs, it really was a waste of talent. He was addicted to cocaine from the mid-1980s until 2004, allegedly first using the drug in 1983, whilst at Barcelona. He was at one of the best clubs in the world, a club with such great history and with such loyal fans, and he still didn’t realise what he had.
He ruined parts of his professional career with drugs which not only resulted in the Argentinean serving lengthy bans but also affected his ability to play the game. His attitude to football and life, quite frankly, stank.
I mean, for fuck’s sake, he was mates with Fidel Castro! He owes Italy around 37 million euros in taxes and refuses to pay it, and he once shot a member of the media. These aren’t antics that can just be laughed off – these are appalling actions, even for someone as stupid as Maradona.
Despite these betrayals and the I-don’t-give-a-shit outlook on life, Maradona is still worshipped as a God – and my word does he know it. He has a general “I’m Diego Maradona so you should listen to me and make me coach of your team” kind of attitude. He’s so arrogant; some will say he has the right to be arrogant, but he really doesn’t. No one does. The fact that he’s so gifted yet so flawed with such easily-remediable issues makes me hate him even more – the ungrateful bastard.
He’s a loudmouth, always giving his opinion on everything, most recently criticising national team manager Sergio Batista for “ignoring” Carlos Tevez. He’s always chirping away. Just shut up Diego.
And, let me just remind you, these criticisms are coming from the man that oversaw Argentina only just qualify for the 2010 World Cup and then looked on as Messi, Mascherano, Higuain and co. were embarrassed by Germany in South Africa.
Due to Maradona’s complete ineptness as a manager I actually felt sorry for Messi. I felt sympathy for the best player of this generation! Esteban Cambiasso was left at home while Martin Palermo went to the World Cup, clearly for sentimental reasons. It’s the sort of decision you’d get on Football Manager. It’s idiotic. Messi and the whole of Argentina were let down by Maradona.
Many onlookers laughed at Diego’s attack-dominated side, in fact most were positively beaming at the sight of a rotund Maradona wearing a suit on the sideline with a beard that made him look like Father Christmas and celebrations that exposed the limitations of said suit. I’m sure many LOLs were had.
But not by me. He let Argentina down, he let himself down turning what could have been a pristine career into a drug-fuelled, ego-topped life. He had the world at his feet and all the wealth and love that any individual could ever wish for – but he took his career for granted and threw it all away. Well, some of it.
All of you nostalgic football fans can ignore the complete twattish-ness of Diego Maradona, but the fact that he had so much quality but turned to drugs and alcohol and then continues to be one of the most arrogant and “outspoken” (definition: needs to learn to keep his mouth shut) men alive makes him even more of a dickhead for me.
And again my hate for him has nothing to do with the Hand Of God. Nothing. Nada.
Ok, maybe a little. What a cock.
This piece was originally published on Magic Spongers.