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Naples Mayor Calls For San Paolo Stadium To Be Renamed In Honour Of Diego Maradona

by : Mike Williams on : 26 Nov 2020 10:39
Naples Mayor Calls For San Paolo Stadium To Be Renamed In Honour Of Diego MaradonaNaples Mayor Calls For San Paolo Stadium To Be Renamed In Honour Of Diego MaradonaPA Images

Since the sad passing of Argentine legend Diego Maradona on November 25, tributes have poured in from all over the world, from football fans and former players – including the mayor of Naples.

Less than 24 hours since the former Napoli legend’s death, news out of Naples is that his former club are set to unveil the grandest gesture of them all: renaming their San Paolo stadium after the skilful magician.

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It’s an initiative led by Mayor Luigi de Magistris, who 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.

Footy journalist Fabrizio Romano revealed the heartfelt gesture on Twitter to his 2.2 million followers, writing, ‘Confirmed. Napoli stadium ‘San Paolo’ will be re-named in honour of Diego Armando Maradona.’

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The responses to the announcement was met with a warm, positive thread of messages.

‘Football is bigger than a sport. Absolutely love it,’ posted one user. ‘This is why football is the biggest sport in the world,’ read another.

While some questioned why it took his death to rename the stadium in his honour, others explained that in Italy you cannot do this to someone who is alive, and usually takes a decade to achieve this.

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One person tweeted, ‘My friend, in Italy you cannot name a public venue/stadium after someone who is alive. In fact, it’s not allowed to be renamed until 10 years after the person’s death. They are working to change that for Diego. Looks as if it’s been done already.’

As early as yesterday, the same day that Maradona died, speculation grew over the massive decision, as the city’s mayor pushed for the change immediately, stating, ‘Naples loves you,’ as reported in The Independent

The ex-playing legend went into cardiac arrest at his home in Tigres, north of Buenos Aires. He was just 60 when he died and had been recovering from having brain surgery at the start of November. Maradona had left hospital on November 12 to rest up at his home, but doctors said he was struggling to abstain from alcohol and had withdrawal symptoms.

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Former players, such as England striker Gary Lineker, paid their respects online. The 59-year-old wrote:

Reports from Argentina that Diego Armando Maradona has died. By some distance the best player of my generation and arguably the greatest of all time. After a blessed but troubled life, hopefully he’ll finally find some comfort in the hands of God.

Three days of mourning is underway in Argentina, the country he captained to World Cup glory in 1986, as well as in Napoli.  He became a club legend almost overnight, helping to transform the struggling southerners into a title-winning side within two seasons of joining.

Maradona spent the peak of his career at Napoli following a shock switch from Barcelona in the summer of 1984, after a dream move from Boca Juniors to the Camp Nou (and for a then world-record fee of £5 million) didn’t work out. He went on to become an icon in Italy instead.

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Topics: Sport, Death, Football, Now