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Diego Maradona: There is a method to his madness

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Diego Maradona has been the headline maker at this World Cup. From his elegant suits, to his animated gestures in the technical area, to his controversial quotes and his genuine hugs of appreciation for his players, el Diego has deflected pressure away from his side. The Milan spots daily, La Gazzetta dello Sport, outlined a few of his rituals and superstitions.

Press Conferences in the Same Place from Pretoria

La prima scaramanzia adottata dell’allenatore argentino riguarda il luogo delle conferenze stampa di rito, che è sempre rimasto lo stesso a dispetto di quanto preveda il regolamento della Fifa (secondo cui gli incontri con i giornalisti si devono svolgere nel luogo in cui si disputa la partita). Sin dall’arrivo in Sudafrica, Maradona ha invece sistematicamente chiesto, e ottenuto, di parlare sempre da Pretoria“.

maradona tevez Diego Maradona: There is a method to his madness

Diego Maradona with Carlos Tevez

“The first superstition adopted by the Argentinean manager concerns the location of press conferences that have always remained the same despite the FIFA regulation (accordingly that meetings with journalists must take place from the locale where the game is being played). From the arrival in South Africa, Maradona has systematically asked and obtained (the right) to always speak from Pretoria.”

Pre-Game Rituals: Chants, Pictures, Phone Calls, Kisses and Rosary Beads

Dopo l’incitamento ai giocatori al momento dell’arrivo allo stadio, la liturgia maradoniana prosegue con una passeggiata a bordo campo, lo scatto di una foto con ognuno dei membri che compongono la delegazione argentina, un saluto alla curva dei tifosi (che accompagna con cori e canti), una telefonata portafortuna (rigorosamente ripresa in diretta televisiva) da parte delle figlie Dalma e Giannina, sempre presenti sugli spalti, e, infine, uno scambio di baci a distanza con l’attuale fidanzata, Veronica Ojeda. Tutto ciò prima del fischio d’inizio, quando Maradona fa ricorso alla fede e impugna saldamente nella mano sinistra (la stessa con cui segnò l’ormai leggendario gol all’Inghilterra nel 1986) un rosario che tiene stretto fino al fischio finale“.

maradona kicks Diego Maradona: There is a method to his madness

Diego Maradona can’t resist a kick from the touchline

“After getting his players charged up at the moment of arrival at the stadium (he chants and sings on the bus), the Maradona liturgy follows with a walk around the border of the pitch, photographs with each member from the Argentinean delegation, a greeting to the Argentinean supporters (who provide chants and songs), a phone call to bring luck (rigorously made on live television) from his daughters, Dalma and Giannina, who are always present in the stands.

And to top things off, an exchange of long-distance kisses with his girlfriend, Veronica Ojeda. All of this happens before the opening whistle when Maradona looks to his faith and firmly clutches in his left hand (the same one that he scored the legendary goal against England in 1986) a rosary that he holds tightly until the final whistle.”

Front Page from 1986 World Cup Victory in Mexico

C’è un altro rito che Maradona ripete immancabilmente e che serve per rievocare la mistica e il clima dell’ultimo trionfo mondiale dell’albiceleste nel 1986. Al termine dei saluti a tifosi e familiari, prima di rientrare negli spogliatoi per gli ultimi incitamenti e indicazioni che precedono il fischio d’inizio, l’ex Pibe de Oro riceve puntualmente dalle mani di un suo aiutante una copia della prima pagina del quotidiano che 24 anni fa celebrava il secondo titolo mondiale per l’Argentina“.

maradona suited up Diego Maradona: There is a method to his madness

Diego Maradona adjusting his necktie wearing a suit picked by his daughters

“There is another rite of Maradona that is repeated without missing a beat that serves to bring back the mystique and atmosphere from the last Argentinean triumph at the 1986 World Cup. After greeting fans and his family, before going back to the dressing room for the final chants and instructions that proceed the opening whistle, the former Golden Boy receives like clockwork a copy of the front page from the newspaper that 24 years ago celebrated the second World Cup title of Argentina.”

maradona rosary beads Diego Maradona: There is a method to his madness

Diego Maradona clutches his rosary beads throughout the match with his left hand

Rituals of Other Players and Managers

I did a review at Soccerlens about Gabriele Marcotti’s book on Fabio Capello. Don Fabio had some interesting rituals. He always sits in the same seat on airplanes and calls on journalists in the same order at news conferences.

Do you know of any rituals or superstitions from players or managers that you would like to share with us?

Italian source: La Gazzetta dello Sport, June 28, 2010.

Steve Amoia is a freelance writer, editor and translator from Washington, D.C. He writes the World Football Commentaries blog. He has written for AC Cugini Scuola Calcio (Italian soccer school), Football Media, Keeper Skool and Soccerlens.

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One Comment to Diego Maradona: There is a method to his madness

  1. Maradona was the best ever player on earth ,.