Diego Maradona impressed on the soccer field with lightness and sophistication. Outside the stadiums, he stood for scandals and drugs. 3sat shows a complex and impressive documentary.
the essentials in brief
- Diego Maradona is a myth far beyond football.
The “golden boy” was one of the most talented footballers ever, celebrated great success with the SSC Napoli and the Argentine national team – and then crashed increasingly.
From 1984 to 1991 he gave the Neapolitans the chance to hold onto a hero – before the relationship between city and star crumbled. During Maradona’s time in Naples, director Asif Kapadia (“Amy”) created an impressive docudrama with many private videos. The complex portrait from 2019, nominated for numerous prizes, can be seen on Wednesday (8.15 p.m.) on 3sat.
Right from the start, Maradona’s former personal trainer Fernando Signorini made it clear: “There is Diego. And there is Maradona », says Signorini about pictures from the early days in Italy. «Diego was a little insecure, but lovable boy. Maradona, on the other hand, was the role that he had laid out for himself in order to be able to survive in the football business and also in the media. “
The Neapolitans love him
The film begins in 1984 with Maradona’s move from Barcelona to Naples. You can see a young, motivated footballer who struggles a bit with the style of play in Italy, but quickly seems to feel at home in the southern Italian city. The emotional Neapolitans love him from the start. Maradona is the savior not only for the association, but also for a city that is dismissed as inferior within Italy.
Two good years in Naples followed, before Maradona traveled to Mexico for the 1986 World Cup with Argentina and scored two legendary goals in the quarter-finals: The “hand of God” came to the rescue at 1-0, and Maradona met just a few minutes later after a brilliant dribble. «Cosmic dragon. What planet is the man from? ”Commented a live reporter at the time. “Here is bundled what you love and hate him for. A little cheating and a lot of genius, »says the journalist Daniel Arcucci, one of the most important and pointed voices in the film.
A few minutes later, the documentary is heading for the climax of Maradona’s career: in 1987 SSC Napoli became Italian champions for the first time in their club’s history. Even on the pitch after the decisive game, Maradona is not only asked how he feels, but what Naples is to him: “My home, of course.”
Drugs and descent follow
But from now on the love between the superstar and the city goes downhill, it crushes him – and the film follows this path very precisely in difficult times. The hype surrounding himself becomes too much for him, and Maradona’s drug use is rampant. In 1989 he wants to leave the club, but is not allowed to do so. In the summer of 1990 he converted a penalty at the World Cup and knocked host Italy out of the tournament – in Naples of all places. After investigations into drug trafficking and prostitution, Maradona flees the city. The Camorra is no longer helping him either.
As in Maradona’s life, the much-cited second side of the coin now increasingly determines the mood in Kapadia’s docudrama. Through many intimate glimpses with archive material from Maradona’s first agent, the director manages to illuminate the decisive moments in his life, to get closer to the myth about the Argentine and to better understand Maradona himself. “The golden boy” sparked euphoria with his footballing talent – and ultimately paid a high price for it. He died of a heart attack on November 25, 2020 at the age of 60.
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