The mayor of Naples, Luigi De Magistris, proclaimed a day of mourning for the death of Diego Armando Maradona, while the lights of the San Paolo stadium in Naples will stay on all night to pay respect to the Argentinian champion.
De Magistris also proposed to retitle the stadium in Maradona’s name. “I ask for a day of mourning and at the same time that our stadium that witnessed so many of his successes may bear his name”.
Banners and flags have spread throughout the streets of the city centre, while on social media a call for a flash mob has gone viral: “Tomorrow hang from your balcony or window a scarf, a flag, a jersey. Anything that represents the Naples team. Bye, Diego”.
In the meantime, hundreds of fans in the Spanish Quarters have begun lighting smoke bombs and shouting stadium chants in front of Maradona murals.
Naples was rocked by news of the death of Diego Armando Maradona, who was venerated like a saint in the city.
People are still finding it hard to believe, as hundreds of fans gather in front of Maradona murals in the Spanish Quarters. All-out revelry won’t be easy, however, as Naples and the Campania region have been designated a high-risk, red zone since 13 November, which means people can only leave their homes for work, health or emergency purposes.
But in Naples, with Maradona’s status as a living legend, comparable only to the city’s patron saint, San Gennaro, anti-Covid restrictions will likely not be observed. “This 2020 is really the worst year ever”, one woman told Naples-based newspaper il Mattino.
“Today, football died’’, a Napoli fan told Sky News. “On a day like this I wanted to thank my parents who named me after him,” says a boy named Diego Maradona. To understand what Maradona meant in Naples, you just need to think that thousands of newborns in the nineties were named after the Argentinian player.
The Napoli FC team posted a photo of Maradona exulting in the team’s sky-blue shirt with the caption “Forever” and a blue heart, tweeting “Ciao Diego”.
Naples Mayor Luigi de Magistris said: “Diego Armando Maradona is dead. The most immense footballer of all time. Diego made our people dream, he redeemed Naples with his genius. In 2017 he became an honorary citizen. Diego, Neapolitan and Argentine, you gave us joy and happiness! Naples loves you”.
The former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has also paid tribute on Twitter: “Diego Armando Maradona was a football giant, from Argentina and all over the world, a talent and a unique personality. His genius and passion on the pitch, his intensity in life and his commitment to Latin American sovereignty marked our time. On the pitch, he was one of the greatest opponents, perhaps the greatest, that the Brazilian team has faced. Outside of sporting rivalry, he was a great friend of Brazil. I can only thank you for your solidarity with the people’s fight and with the Brazilian people. Maradona will never be forgotten.”
Buenos Aires – Argentina has declared three days of national mourning starting today, said a statement from Argentina’s President Alberto Fernández.
“You took us to the highest of the world. You made us immensely happy. You were the greatest of all. Thanks for having existed, Diego. We will miss you all our lives,” said Argentina’s president Alberto Fernández in a tweet.
In Argentina, newscasters are in tears reporting Maradona’s death.
“Part of our childhood has died,” said a sobbing newscaster barely
able to get the words out on the TV news channel C5N. “I thought he
could never die,” said another.
Nine ambulances arrived to try and revive Maradona after he was found lifeless, apparently from a heart attack, shortly before midday at a rented home in a gated community in the suburb of Tigre, north of Buenos Aires. Maradona was recovering from brain surgery on 3 November. Although the operation had been successful, Maradona was reported to be suffering from abstinence from his alcohol habit.