Thursday, November 26, 2020 6:21 am
By Odolaye Aremu
I devoted all of last week to the Netflix series of ‘Maradona In Mexico.’ Anyone would have thought I was working on a thesis on the subject matter: Diego Armando Maradona.
The truth is: I wasn’t. I was only and as usual unfailingly captivated by the soccer brilliance of the man, the myth and his overwhelming recklessness. I think I saw the end approach for him last week and I actually shed tears for him last night watching his Boca Juniors exploits on the Spanish TV Primera Soccer reruns too.
It’s like watching a fine specimen of a man in his prime, suddenly morphed into the grotesque replica of “Quasimodo: the Hunchback Of Notredame” in midlife. Simple ambulation for him was nearing a task.
The man – at quarter to the end was falling apart like an overused hoopty right before the world. And since no one can convincingly teach an old dog new tricks, I guess his handlers just allowed Maradona be: Maradona.
In hindsight, it is remarkable how he died of cardiac arrest at 60 when he could have easily stroke out in his 20s when he reportedly ‘would sniff lines before, in the middle and after a game.’ Simply put I used to think Maradona could drop dead right on the soccer field in the middle of a fantastic play.
A man who came from the slums of Argentina to become arguably the Michelangelo of soccer. Diminutive, yet formidable. His talent was amazingly too much for one person. Nearly an equivalent of a soccer team all by himself. And his supremely commanding will kept him alive, made him the best soccer player of his days and ultimately made him as self-destructive as he was.
Maradona and our own Etim Essien were some of the most blessed amongst soccer players. And the curse of that Blessing was equally daunting! How blessed are we to have seen them in the very prime of their individual brilliance? Priceless!
Rest In Peace Maradona! Go on and join Heaven’s First Eleven.
-Odolaye Aremu is a public affairs analyst