The question came out several times from Diego Maradona’s mouth , and rang in the ears of his inner circle. It was revealed, for example, by his sister Ana and his former lawyer Matías Morla during their visit to Esquina, Corrientes a few days ago. ” Diego always asked if the people were going to love him forever,” they stressed.
The restlessness haunted Pelusa even after the continuous recognition that represented his tour as technical director of Gimnasia La Plata through the stadiums of the country. “The tributes, in life, teacher”, was one of his maxims, although surely, from wherever he is, he will have been moved by the massive farewell that fans in every corner of the world gave him, where his magic with the ball arrived.
That feeling that the bond he had built with the people, with the fans who are now his faithful, could be broken was one of the thoughts that tormented the former captain of the National Team during the last days before his death. “ One of the things that he did best was when the boys, who hadn’t seen him play because of an age issue, showed him their admiration . That for him was a caress, because he realized that he had transcended beyond the generations that could follow him on a court, ”says someone who accompanied him in recent years.
At some point, the root of the fear was that the 1986 world champion in Mexico knew that he drew dreams with the ball. And in recent times, due to physical ailments and the operation on his right knee, he could only do it with the blackboard, from the substitute bench. Perhaps he never got to take dimension of the size of his football legacy. And he always kept it close at hand, close to his eyes, on the “altar” he had set up on one of the walls of the main living room of his house in the private Campos de Roca neighborhood, in Brandsen .
The “altar” does not exactly refer to something religious. It is the name that his inner circle had given to the space that Diego decorated with special memories. Historical photos, with his parents, Dona Tota and Chitoro (whom he missed deeply); paintings, oil paintings and drawings that fans and artists gave him; even a replica of the World Cup, which represented the envy of all who came to his home or saw it in an image. However, few had the chance to touch her.
Fatura Broun , goalkeeper and reference for Gimnasia La Plata told it : “Once, Diego sent me a photo of him on the couch at home with the World Cup. He never wanted to tell me how much he weighed, because he said he was going to use that information for some scam of mine. “
The altar was one of the ways in which he kept the fire of his bond with the people alive. An intimate way, the self-caress. The other: social networks. Much was said at this time about how much impact he had on the publications of his Instagram account. But every time he wanted to express something, he would pick up the phone and ask for it with an audio message to those who handled the technological tools.
And there was face to face, of course; something that the pandemic took away from him. Isolation was one of the factors that strongly influenced Pelusa’s mood . Mario García , his field assistant in Dorados de Sinaloa, described that back and forth he had with the fans in Mexico . “He questioned those who approached him to ask for an autograph if they did not know when the photo they gave him to sign was from. He said stadium, rival, how many goals he scored … I think he only lacked the hour of the game . That was Diego. He did not deny autographs to anyone, least of all his signature on the shirts, “he recalled.
With the autographs, because of another thought that tormented him, Diego had an oscillating bond. “I’m not going to end up like Gatica signing autographs for twine in a bar,” he repeated, like a dogma, despite the fact that his signature had already become a symbol, tattoo, and even adorned the windshield of one of his three BMW coupes. .
The comparison stems from the epilogue of the legendary boxer, who in his decline knew how to act as PR in the Nocaut canteen, offering his legend for a signature or a photo. El Diez , who died on November 25 in the house he rented in El Tigre, managed to dribble that fate he feared, perhaps based on that childhood of deprivation and sacrifices of his parents so that his children would not lack to eat.
“But he was not afraid of going back to poverty; That phrase did not pass through there, because he knew about the assets, accounts and businesses he had, and he knew that money was not going to be lacking. What it didn’t want was to be a museum piece. He wanted to be an active part of history until his last day ”, sheds light on the root of the sentence one of the people who heard him pronounce it.
Somehow, he had succeeded: as a gymnastics coach, he was back at the concert, on stage. Again COVID-19 appeared as a villain: he took it off. Being a risk patient, his presence in the practices was thinned. And the friendly match against San Lorenzo, in which he had contact with Nicolás Contín (later it was confirmed that he suffered from coronavirus) sounded all the alarms. But at the same time it isolated him more from his passion. And he did not allow her to continue with the pen in her hands, writing the story, as she so fervently wished.