Blog

“Maradona will live on”

Napoli fan Alessio Costabile describes his emotions – and those of his city – following the death of a legend who became part of the fabric of Naples

WORDS Alessio Costabile

When I first heard the news I didn’t know what to believe. I didn’t know if I actually wanted to believe it. To accept that “Muriò Maradona” (Maradona has died), as the Argentinian newspaper Clarín reported, meant realising that Diego was a mere human, like all of us. That’s the closest thing to heresy for a Neapolitan.

The hours passed by and I just sat in my chair, unable to do or think anything, staring blankly at the wall. Then I had a sudden realisation: can football ever really die? As long as there’s a kid in a field, in a back alley or in a pit of mud who’s playing with a spherical object (because Diego taught us that an orange or ping pong ball will do if you’re up to the task), Maradona will live on.

And what of my city? Buenos Aires and Naples are the two capitals – the Rome and Constantinople – of an extended Argentinean empire. And perhaps it’s our Greek and Roman roots that we need to explain this situation. Greek mythology has a precise word to describe what happens when the earthly path of a superior being runs out: apotheosis. It means to ‘godify’ someone; to believe that, from that moment on, there’s a new divinity to say grace to. And what the Greeks started, the Romans made their own: every Roman emperor became a ‘divus’, a deity, after death.

So today Naples is simply preserving its ancient traditions by celebrating an apotheosis, this strange, ancient, sacred and chthonic ritual. There are gatherings and bright lights; candles, jerseys, scarves, banners and tears. Mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, our people that live and breathe football.

A Napoli fan flies the flag (top) Shrine to a hero (above)

But it's an apotheosis with some key differences. When it came to rulers and emperors, the likes of statues, monuments and paintings were only created after their deaths. But Diego already had his shrines while still alive: the little edicole that are scattered around our streets containing his jerseys, old photographs and fragments of hair. And then there are the amazing murals that our city holds like timeless treasures in an art gallery.

Diego already had his temple too: the Stadio San Paolo, which is set to be renamed the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona thanks to a swift decision from our mayor. It will mean bypassing an Italian law that normally dictates that a public building can only be renamed after someone ten years after their death.

Some of us are too young to remember the days when Diego performed his wonders but that’s not important, because he still represents the awakening of our severed and oppressed southern pride. He made us realise that even if you come from nothing, even if you’re born into dust, you can leave your mark on history.

So now Naples goes on in the absence of Maradona, a man of so many contradictions. Genius, sinner, visionary, glutton, leader. Primus inter pares for two outcast peoples. Divine. Human.

For better or worse, never anyone like him.

When I first heard the news I didn’t know what to believe. I didn’t know if I actually wanted to believe it. To accept that “Muriò Maradona” (Maradona has died), as the Argentinian newspaper Clarín reported, meant realising that Diego was a mere human, like all of us. That’s the closest thing to heresy for a Neapolitan.

The hours passed by and I just sat in my chair, unable to do or think anything, staring blankly at the wall. Then I had a sudden realisation: can football ever really die? As long as there’s a kid in a field, in a back alley or in a pit of mud who’s playing with a spherical object (because Diego taught us that an orange or ping pong ball will do if you’re up to the task), Maradona will live on.

And what of my city? Buenos Aires and Naples are the two capitals – the Rome and Constantinople – of an extended Argentinean empire. And perhaps it’s our Greek and Roman roots that we need to explain this situation. Greek mythology has a precise word to describe what happens when the earthly path of a superior being runs out: apotheosis. It means to ‘godify’ someone; to believe that, from that moment on, there’s a new divinity to say grace to. And what the Greeks started, the Romans made their own: every Roman emperor became a ‘divus’, a deity, after death.

So today Naples is simply preserving its ancient traditions by celebrating an apotheosis, this strange, ancient, sacred and chthonic ritual. There are gatherings and bright lights; candles, jerseys, scarves, banners and tears. Mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, our people that live and breathe football.

A Napoli fan flies the flag (top) Shrine to a hero (above)

But it's an apotheosis with some key differences. When it came to rulers and emperors, the likes of statues, monuments and paintings were only created after their deaths. But Diego already had his shrines while still alive: the little edicole that are scattered around our streets containing his jerseys, old photographs and fragments of hair. And then there are the amazing murals that our city holds like timeless treasures in an art gallery.

Diego already had his temple too: the Stadio San Paolo, which is set to be renamed the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona thanks to a swift decision from our mayor. It will mean bypassing an Italian law that normally dictates that a public building can only be renamed after someone ten years after their death.

Some of us are too young to remember the days when Diego performed his wonders but that’s not important, because he still represents the awakening of our severed and oppressed southern pride. He made us realise that even if you come from nothing, even if you’re born into dust, you can leave your mark on history.

So now Naples goes on in the absence of Maradona, a man of so many contradictions. Genius, sinner, visionary, glutton, leader. Primus inter pares for two outcast peoples. Divine. Human.

For better or worse, never anyone like him.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

When I first heard the news I didn’t know what to believe. I didn’t know if I actually wanted to believe it. To accept that “Muriò Maradona” (Maradona has died), as the Argentinian newspaper Clarín reported, meant realising that Diego was a mere human, like all of us. That’s the closest thing to heresy for a Neapolitan.

The hours passed by and I just sat in my chair, unable to do or think anything, staring blankly at the wall. Then I had a sudden realisation: can football ever really die? As long as there’s a kid in a field, in a back alley or in a pit of mud who’s playing with a spherical object (because Diego taught us that an orange or ping pong ball will do if you’re up to the task), Maradona will live on.

And what of my city? Buenos Aires and Naples are the two capitals – the Rome and Constantinople – of an extended Argentinean empire. And perhaps it’s our Greek and Roman roots that we need to explain this situation. Greek mythology has a precise word to describe what happens when the earthly path of a superior being runs out: apotheosis. It means to ‘godify’ someone; to believe that, from that moment on, there’s a new divinity to say grace to. And what the Greeks started, the Romans made their own: every Roman emperor became a ‘divus’, a deity, after death.

So today Naples is simply preserving its ancient traditions by celebrating an apotheosis, this strange, ancient, sacred and chthonic ritual. There are gatherings and bright lights; candles, jerseys, scarves, banners and tears. Mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, our people that live and breathe football.

A Napoli fan flies the flag (top) Shrine to a hero (above)

But it's an apotheosis with some key differences. When it came to rulers and emperors, the likes of statues, monuments and paintings were only created after their deaths. But Diego already had his shrines while still alive: the little edicole that are scattered around our streets containing his jerseys, old photographs and fragments of hair. And then there are the amazing murals that our city holds like timeless treasures in an art gallery.

Diego already had his temple too: the Stadio San Paolo, which is set to be renamed the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona thanks to a swift decision from our mayor. It will mean bypassing an Italian law that normally dictates that a public building can only be renamed after someone ten years after their death.

Some of us are too young to remember the days when Diego performed his wonders but that’s not important, because he still represents the awakening of our severed and oppressed southern pride. He made us realise that even if you come from nothing, even if you’re born into dust, you can leave your mark on history.

So now Naples goes on in the absence of Maradona, a man of so many contradictions. Genius, sinner, visionary, glutton, leader. Primus inter pares for two outcast peoples. Divine. Human.

For better or worse, never anyone like him.

“Maradona will live on”
Blog

“Maradona will live on”

Napoli fan Alessio Costabile describes his emotions – and those of his city – following the death of a legend who became part of the fabric of Naples

WORDS Alessio Costabile

When I first heard the news I didn’t know what to believe. I didn’t know if I actually wanted to believe it. To accept that “Muriò Maradona” (Maradona has died), as the Argentinian newspaper Clarín reported, meant realising that Diego was a mere human, like all of us. That’s the closest thing to heresy for a Neapolitan.

The hours passed by and I just sat in my chair, unable to do or think anything, staring blankly at the wall. Then I had a sudden realisation: can football ever really die? As long as there’s a kid in a field, in a back alley or in a pit of mud who’s playing with a spherical object (because Diego taught us that an orange or ping pong ball will do if you’re up to the task), Maradona will live on.

And what of my city? Buenos Aires and Naples are the two capitals – the Rome and Constantinople – of an extended Argentinean empire. And perhaps it’s our Greek and Roman roots that we need to explain this situation. Greek mythology has a precise word to describe what happens when the earthly path of a superior being runs out: apotheosis. It means to ‘godify’ someone; to believe that, from that moment on, there’s a new divinity to say grace to. And what the Greeks started, the Romans made their own: every Roman emperor became a ‘divus’, a deity, after death.

So today Naples is simply preserving its ancient traditions by celebrating an apotheosis, this strange, ancient, sacred and chthonic ritual. There are gatherings and bright lights; candles, jerseys, scarves, banners and tears. Mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, our people that live and breathe football.

A Napoli fan flies the flag (top) Shrine to a hero (above)

But it's an apotheosis with some key differences. When it came to rulers and emperors, the likes of statues, monuments and paintings were only created after their deaths. But Diego already had his shrines while still alive: the little edicole that are scattered around our streets containing his jerseys, old photographs and fragments of hair. And then there are the amazing murals that our city holds like timeless treasures in an art gallery.

Diego already had his temple too: the Stadio San Paolo, which is set to be renamed the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona thanks to a swift decision from our mayor. It will mean bypassing an Italian law that normally dictates that a public building can only be renamed after someone ten years after their death.

Some of us are too young to remember the days when Diego performed his wonders but that’s not important, because he still represents the awakening of our severed and oppressed southern pride. He made us realise that even if you come from nothing, even if you’re born into dust, you can leave your mark on history.

So now Naples goes on in the absence of Maradona, a man of so many contradictions. Genius, sinner, visionary, glutton, leader. Primus inter pares for two outcast peoples. Divine. Human.

For better or worse, never anyone like him.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

When I first heard the news I didn’t know what to believe. I didn’t know if I actually wanted to believe it. To accept that “Muriò Maradona” (Maradona has died), as the Argentinian newspaper Clarín reported, meant realising that Diego was a mere human, like all of us. That’s the closest thing to heresy for a Neapolitan.

The hours passed by and I just sat in my chair, unable to do or think anything, staring blankly at the wall. Then I had a sudden realisation: can football ever really die? As long as there’s a kid in a field, in a back alley or in a pit of mud who’s playing with a spherical object (because Diego taught us that an orange or ping pong ball will do if you’re up to the task), Maradona will live on.

And what of my city? Buenos Aires and Naples are the two capitals – the Rome and Constantinople – of an extended Argentinean empire. And perhaps it’s our Greek and Roman roots that we need to explain this situation. Greek mythology has a precise word to describe what happens when the earthly path of a superior being runs out: apotheosis. It means to ‘godify’ someone; to believe that, from that moment on, there’s a new divinity to say grace to. And what the Greeks started, the Romans made their own: every Roman emperor became a ‘divus’, a deity, after death.

So today Naples is simply preserving its ancient traditions by celebrating an apotheosis, this strange, ancient, sacred and chthonic ritual. There are gatherings and bright lights; candles, jerseys, scarves, banners and tears. Mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, our people that live and breathe football.

A Napoli fan flies the flag (top) Shrine to a hero (above)

But it's an apotheosis with some key differences. When it came to rulers and emperors, the likes of statues, monuments and paintings were only created after their deaths. But Diego already had his shrines while still alive: the little edicole that are scattered around our streets containing his jerseys, old photographs and fragments of hair. And then there are the amazing murals that our city holds like timeless treasures in an art gallery.

Diego already had his temple too: the Stadio San Paolo, which is set to be renamed the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona thanks to a swift decision from our mayor. It will mean bypassing an Italian law that normally dictates that a public building can only be renamed after someone ten years after their death.

Some of us are too young to remember the days when Diego performed his wonders but that’s not important, because he still represents the awakening of our severed and oppressed southern pride. He made us realise that even if you come from nothing, even if you’re born into dust, you can leave your mark on history.

So now Naples goes on in the absence of Maradona, a man of so many contradictions. Genius, sinner, visionary, glutton, leader. Primus inter pares for two outcast peoples. Divine. Human.

For better or worse, never anyone like him.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

When I first heard the news I didn’t know what to believe. I didn’t know if I actually wanted to believe it. To accept that “Muriò Maradona” (Maradona has died), as the Argentinian newspaper Clarín reported, meant realising that Diego was a mere human, like all of us. That’s the closest thing to heresy for a Neapolitan.

The hours passed by and I just sat in my chair, unable to do or think anything, staring blankly at the wall. Then I had a sudden realisation: can football ever really die? As long as there’s a kid in a field, in a back alley or in a pit of mud who’s playing with a spherical object (because Diego taught us that an orange or ping pong ball will do if you’re up to the task), Maradona will live on.

And what of my city? Buenos Aires and Naples are the two capitals – the Rome and Constantinople – of an extended Argentinean empire. And perhaps it’s our Greek and Roman roots that we need to explain this situation. Greek mythology has a precise word to describe what happens when the earthly path of a superior being runs out: apotheosis. It means to ‘godify’ someone; to believe that, from that moment on, there’s a new divinity to say grace to. And what the Greeks started, the Romans made their own: every Roman emperor became a ‘divus’, a deity, after death.

So today Naples is simply preserving its ancient traditions by celebrating an apotheosis, this strange, ancient, sacred and chthonic ritual. There are gatherings and bright lights; candles, jerseys, scarves, banners and tears. Mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, our people that live and breathe football.

A Napoli fan flies the flag (top) Shrine to a hero (above)

But it's an apotheosis with some key differences. When it came to rulers and emperors, the likes of statues, monuments and paintings were only created after their deaths. But Diego already had his shrines while still alive: the little edicole that are scattered around our streets containing his jerseys, old photographs and fragments of hair. And then there are the amazing murals that our city holds like timeless treasures in an art gallery.

Diego already had his temple too: the Stadio San Paolo, which is set to be renamed the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona thanks to a swift decision from our mayor. It will mean bypassing an Italian law that normally dictates that a public building can only be renamed after someone ten years after their death.

Some of us are too young to remember the days when Diego performed his wonders but that’s not important, because he still represents the awakening of our severed and oppressed southern pride. He made us realise that even if you come from nothing, even if you’re born into dust, you can leave your mark on history.

So now Naples goes on in the absence of Maradona, a man of so many contradictions. Genius, sinner, visionary, glutton, leader. Primus inter pares for two outcast peoples. Divine. Human.

For better or worse, never anyone like him.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

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