That last statement is really poignant.. an apt metaphor for celebrities/stars who we worshiped as Funny July 4th America Red White Booze Beer Drinking Stein shirt to their craft but also messed up a ton in their personal life.The connective tissue uniting us football fans in times like this is such a gift. My Neapolitan friends are disconsolate, their childhood hero gone. “We thought you’d always be here, like Vesuvius”, one wrote. I am not an Argentine or Neapolitan, but I have not been able to stop crying since I heard the news. There is simply no football, if you grew up when I did, without him. He was like a myth. Some knew him from an old VHS of Mexico 86, some saw him play at the San Paulo or Bombonera, some knew him from the stories or other generations. In his complexity and passion, he defined humanity. On sidewalks or asphalt parking lots or fields of dry grass, we dribbled along with the rhythm he put in our heads, a metronome following us wherever we went. Grateful for him, wish it could’ve lasted longer. I’ll be forever grateful.
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For casual fans, it made for uncomfortable viewing. Even for those of us who knew the broad outlines of Funny July 4th America Red White Booze Beer Drinking Stein shirt fall from grace, it was shocking. […] Seeing him in that tribute game was a reminder of all we’d taken from him, and I wasn’t the only one who felt that way. A few days later, in Lima, Peru, I visited a cousin of mine. At the mention of Maradona’s farewell match, he fell into a reverential silence, his eyes suddenly watering. “Diego is going to die,” he said in an urgent whisper, the words tumbling out with the force of discovery, as if Maradona’s mortality had never occurred to him.