Ten years on

The 25th October 1997 was an historic day in the history of football, and today we arrive at its tenth anniversary. Because ten years ago today, in the Monumental, Boca Juniors beat River Plate 2-1. Historic for what exactly? No, my fellow River fans, it wasn’t the last time we lost a superclásico (the unbeaten run isn’t that long yet). But on that day, without knowing it, Diego Armando Maradona played his final competitive football match.

Days later, on the 29th, the day before his 37th birthday, news came back that Maradona had failed a doping test and Argentina – and the world – entered a new era of football: the most recent of the handful of players who can lay claim to a place among the five or so greatest of all time was forced to retire.

Since then, Maradona’s admitted his addiction to cocaine, which almost killed him and which he has had treatment for; he’s admitted his addiction to alcohol, which almost killed him and which he has had treatment for; he’s made a TV show in Argentina, appeared in another in Italy as a celebrity dancer (his participation was cut abruptly short after he had to flee home to Buenos Aires to avoid being arrested for tax evasion), become the main attraction in the ludicrously staged futsal spectacle known as Showbol, gone from being slim to fat to incredibly fat and back to (relatively) slim again, befriended Fidel Castro, made enemies with George Bush, and was pronounced dead twice in a week earlier this year by some rather excitable members of the Argentine press corps.

In short, it’s not easy being Diego Maradona, and it’s rarely boring following his actions. But no Boca fan would deny that whilst they won that superclásico, they lost something arguably just as dear to them, the day Maradona left. And the footballing world has been a little bit poorer ever since.

2 thoughts on “Ten years on

  1. even though im a river fan i will always love pelusa because of la mano de dios against england and then that second goal. ha ha brilliant. desquite

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