You have to walk in the historic center of Naples to measure the vibrant cult that this city still dedicates today to Diego Maradona, who died on Wednesday at the age of 60.
In the rue de l'Université, the tourist stalls still sell the swimsuits flocked with the number 10 of the Argentine idol and santons bearing his effigy.
At Mimi alla Ferrovia, a celebrity pasta restaurant, Maradona's photos feature prominently alongside snapshots of Silvio Berlusconi, John Turturro or the actors of the Gomorra series.
Death of Diego Maradona: a life of legend in photos
Almost 30 years after his departure in 1991, Diego is everywhere.
As if the capital of Campania forever merged its image and identity with that of this football genius, like her, of popular extraction.
It must be said that in seven years of presence within SSC Napoli (1984-1991), Maradona has restored his pride, and contributed to making exist on the football map - but not only - this southern city often despised by the large, rich and industrial cities north of La Botte.
In February 2013, Maradona passing through Naples brandished the mythical sky blue jersey.
AFP / Carlo Hermann
Even if other internationals like Edinson Cavani have since passed through Naples, none match the native of Buenos Aires in the heart of the tifosi.
El Pibe de Oro (the golden kid), who became the most expensive player in history (7 million euros) when he left Barça for Naples in 1984, allowed the Neapolitan club to win two league titles. Italy in 1987 and 1990, a Cup-Championship double in 1987 and a UEFA Cup in 1989.
"Cursed and formidable, a little Caravaggio"
One anecdote is enough to sum up the idolatry of an entire people: on May 11, 1987, the day after the first title in the history of SSC Napoli, this inscription addressed to the dead appeared on a Neapolitan cemetery: "Che vi siete persi" (" If you only knew what you missed ”).
The next day, a second sentence is written: “E non sanno che se so perso?
("And who told you that I missed it?").
The Neapolitan, devilishly religious, used to say that what differentiated Jesus from Maradona was that the miracles of Maradona had all been authenticated.
The Argentinian will be more modest (although…) by affirming: “I have nothing to do with it.
These victories are not due to Maradona, it is to God.
A mural in honor of Diego Maradona in Naples.
AFP / Stanislas Touchot
If the Neapolitan years are undoubtedly the pinnacle of his sporting career, in club as well as in selection, they also contributed to knitting the myth of a Maradona in chiaroscuro.
Adept at nightlife, fond of extramarital affairs, close to the Neapolitan mafia which supplies him with the cocaine on which he becomes dependent, Diego and his slow drift feed the chronicle of a man and an athlete in the process of getting lost.
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“He was unique.
A genius, a painter of football: cursed and formidable, a little Caravaggio, ”summed up RMC, Aurelio De Laurentiis, the current president of SSC Napoli.
Tested positive for cocaine for the first time on March 17, 1991, Maradona was then wiretapped by the police, and caught conversing with prostitution circles.
The Italian tax authorities are on his back.
In 1991, the Argentinean left a city and a club that ended up rejecting him.
To then regret it forever.