Posts Tagged ‘Diego Armando Maradona’

Partita del Cuore: Maradona’s Back on the Football Field

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

Invited by Francesco Totti and Italian pop singer Eros Ramazzotti, Diego Armando Maradona has picked up his football boots once again. The Partita del Cuore is a yearly humanitarian event in Italy, and what it comes down to is basically a charity match between Italian celebrity figures, plus a selection of professional football players (usually from the golden years).

This year, it was Nazionale Cantanti (Italian Singers national team) vs. Unica, a team composed of players, TV personalities, and actors. The charity they sponsored was Fondazione Parco della Mistica, a foundation dedicated to the restructuring of 82 acres of land outside of Rome. On Monday, both teams stepped onto the grass of the Stadio Olimpico of Rome, and the thousands of fans in the stands had once again the pleasure to see Diego Maradona in action.

Here were the starting line-ups:

Nazionale Italiana Cantanti: Daniele De Rossi (goalkeeper), Mogol (captain), Paolo Belli, Gianni Morandi, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Enrico Ruggeri, Raoul Bova, Luca Barbarossa, Gigi D’Alessio, Diego Armando Maradona, Eros Ramazzotti.

Unica: Andrea Lucchetta (goalkeeper), Marco Carta, Luciano Spalletti, Claudio Amendola, Enrico Fabris, Aldair, Sebastiano Somma, Bruno Conti (captain), Giancarlo Fisichella, Zico, Angelo Peruzzi.

Managers: Francesco Totti and Gianluigi Buffon.

Referee: Stefano Farina.

Yes, I liked the idea of playing De Rossi in goal and Peruzzi as a striker too. :D For the record, the match ended 6-6 with goals by Ramazzotti (4), Antonacci, and Maradona (on a penalty kick) for the singers, and Fisichella (2), Amendola, Dovizioso (the MotoGP pilot), Moelgg (Italian alpine skier) and Fabris (Italian ice skater) for “Unica”.

Here’s a video of the event. Check out the super-goal by Eros Ramazzotti by the way… wow! In pure “à la Del Piero” style, no wonder Ramazzotti’s a staunch Juventus fan, huh? You think ADP’s been giving him lessons? :)

And here’s some more photos of Maradona in action (courtesy of KwSport):

Lionel Messi: Napoli’s Forbidden Dream

Saturday, December 29th, 2007

Napoli is having forbidden dreams these days. Big dreams. Very big. 2nd-ranked-FIFA-Player-of-the-year big. According to Spanish newspaper El Mundo Deportivo, the Italian club are attempting to find the finances to make a mega-offer for Argentine and Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi, as they believe he could bring the club back to the glory days of Diego Armando Maradona. Delusions of grandeur or very sincere hope for the future? Better yet… is this just another ridiculous rumor that is so far-fetched it is not even remotely possible? When Neapolitans dreams, they dream big, but some of them have already woken up and started working to make this dream a reality.

El Mundo Deportivo’s printed edition - Napoli quiere a MessiAccording to El Mundo Deportivo (which by the way is a traditionally pro-Barcelona newspaper), the Neapolitan project is being spearheaded by the Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis (a well-known Italian cinema producer), with the objective of turning the club into a Scudetto contender, just like the good old days of Maradona. Not only is there a very concrete project to bring Azzurri captain Fabio Cannavaro back to his old colors at the end of the 2007-08 season, but a large number of Neapolitan investors have identified Lionel Messi as the ideal booster rocket for the city’s economy, much to the liking of Maradona in the mid 80′s.

The whole idea came from a Napoli supporters site a few months ago, who (probably jokingly) suggested to bring the Argentine wonderkid to Southern Italy. However, some of the higher powers of the Biancoazzurri club didn’t find the project to be entirely so far-fetched, and apparently have put a plan in motion to convince Messi to the highly-unlikely Napoli transfer. El Mundo Deportivo mentions that Messi was already approached by Napoli emissaries, who on top of a substantial contract offer have also put the attraction of the unique boost to Messi’s self-image onto the table. Indeed, if La Pulga Atómica were to arrive in Southern Italy, he would be instantly idolized by the entire city of Napoli much like Maradona was back in his time.

Lionel Messi with Diego Armando MaradonaThe only problem? Messi seems to have no intention of leaving Barcelona. and despite he is seen by many as Maradona’s heir at international level, he does not want to follow in his hero’s footsteps by moving to the Stadio San Paolo. As mentioned on, “[Messi's] loyalty to Barcelona is well-known as the club brought him over from Argentina and gave him the medicine he needed to grow, while honing his skills on the pitch“.

The buy-out clause in Messi’s contract is believed to be around €125m, but that hasn’t scared Napoli. In fact, the users of the official site’s forum have just suggested the idea of asking all the citizens of Napoli for a small contribution. Now let’s see…  the population of the entire Neapolitan area is about 3 million people… if everyone donates €40 they should reach €125m in the blink of an eye. Right? :)

Messi with a Napoli shirt… wishful thinking?