Six years ago this chronicle for the Argentine star appeared in these same pages. Today, sadly, I would like to change the title:
I’m not a fanatic and passionate soccer fan, that’s my son.
He likes ball and soccer equally. Perhaps that fury of his was the one that infected me and for years, since the 2002 World Cup, I sit with him – when time gives me for that – and I enjoy the game.
I was always pro Maradona, despite the fact that I began to watch football more frequently when the Argentine sports career had already lived its time of glory. But from the beginning I was attracted to see that short little person, with a very black mane, run like a hare, without letting the ball be taken away, until he was located in the exact place that would allow him to strain the sphere into the goal.
Without a doubt, it was also the legend, the one that accompanies the fame, especially of athletes and artists. (Although Maradona alone is a legend, from his games in La Bombonera Buenos Aires.) Yes, the legend also did his thing in my preference for him. And although I really liked the sober style of the Frenchman Zinedine Zidane (“Zizou”), he always ended up highlighting Diego.
I remember each of his trips to Cuba, with one of his young daughters, barely months old. And each of these images is linked to the figure of Fidel, the friendship between the two. Then I liked it more. Maradona’s admiration for the Cuban leader fed my sense of belonging and managed to increase my affections. Maradona then became, in my thoughts, a bit of Cuba too.
I recognize that there have been tremendous footballers such as the Brazilian Pelé, who have not been able to match the goals, the German Franz Beckenbauer, “Zizou” himself and even the Argentine Lio Messi, the only winner of four Ballon d’Or in football history . But I continue to make a aside for Diego Armando Maradona.
I have a colleague whom Maradona asked on the Varadero highway where the golf course was and he only realized who he was when the Argentine star had already started his car on his way to his destination. How I envied him the opportunity! Wasted, because he did not even ask for his signature as a reliable proof that he had ever spoken with Maradona.
That love for the «golden kid» is accentuated every time I hear him talk about Cuba and Fidel. As now in the De Zurda program – he is left-handed, like his fellow countryman Messi – that he and the Uruguayan journalist and broadcaster Víctor Hugo Morales host and that goes out every night on the Telesur channel.
It is true that sometimes «it goes out of hand», but I am one of those who prefer to stop short, so it does not bother me … I like the ease, freshness and simplicity with which it is expressed. When I see him share with the viewers things that Fidel told him, when I see him use two watches – our Commander also used two watches at some point – when I see him hum with Carlos Puebla: The fun is over, the Commander arrived and sent stop, it makes me laugh a lot and I feel great pleasure.
And through an association of thoughts, I immediately think of Che and how many things unite Cuba and Argentina. I remembered that years ago, when leaving a theater in Buenos Aires, after a performance of the National Ballet of Cuba, an elderly man approached one of our dancers to ask him that, like them, one day we had lent to Che, we lent him to Fidel.
The anecdote is shocking, it goes without saying that the Cuban dancer was speechless. The truth is that Maradona exalts my Cubanness, what we call identity, patriotism, love of the land where you were born and have lived … every time he names the Cuban leader and his Revolution, every time he calls him Master. It is in those moments when I look at my son and say, laughing: That Maradona that I love…!