when Maradona played with Napoli’s 9

Simeone’s series recalled a curious moment in Pelusa’s sporting life in Italy. Why didn’t he use the 10 that day?

Diego Simeone’s series (Live game by game) It can be seen for a few days through the Amazon platform. In it, as we told you in OleThe personal and sporting life of the current coach of Atlético de Madrid in Spain is addressed: his origins, the clubs he passed through throughout his great career, his parents, his current wife and his children; various experiences, with the testimony of Cholo himself, his loved ones and important football players: Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, la Brujita Verón, Pep Guardiola, Mourinho and many more.

Simeone: Live Match by Match.  (Courtesy Prime Video)

Simeone: Live Match by Match. (Courtesy Prime Video)

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Beyond what is referred -and interesting- to Simeone, there is an isolated fact that aroused the curiosity of more than one in the first chapter of the first season. Spoiler alert. A story with the main character to the most famous Diego of all time: Maradona. And in Olé we are going to revive it.

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Diego with 9 and Cholo with 8.

Diego with 9 and Cholo with 8.

It was 1991, with Simeone already installed in Italy, defending the colors of Pisa. By date 21 of Series A, andhe local team received Maradona’s Napoli. A Pelusa who obviously started as a starter in his squad, with a rarity for locals and strangers, specifically with the alternative shirt that he wore. Shirt in itself striking as it is red and not the traditional light blue of the southern Italian team. In addition to the color, that day (February 17 of that year), Diego left his usual 10 to Gianfranco Zola, whom he saw as his heir in Naples. A show of trust and camaraderie on the part of the man born in Villa Fiorito, that he chose to wear the 9. Back then, the numbers were not fixed as they are now and were, in general, from 1 to 16 in each match.

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El Cholo -who in retro images appears with number 8- recalled, with a nostalgic smile, what that day was like, with a 1-1 draw between both teams. And what he lived with the world champion in 1986 present: “When we played against Napoli, the only thing I expected was Diego’s appearance. We were all waiting for the start. The two teams came out together. He appears, with his boots untied and begins to say hello to everyone from Napoli. At one point she stays and greets me. Already in the match, it was difficult to touch him. It was touching Diego. I entered him and he insulted me as tempting to be before a kick that annoys. Italian football at that stage was extraordinary.”

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Diego on the grass after a kick.

Diego on the grass after a kick.

Then, more well-known events, also reflected in the series. First suspension -for doping- of 15 months for Maradona, since April 1991. His subsequent departure from Napoli and arrival in Seville in 1992, with Narigón Bilardo as DT and with Simeone as a partner, also acquired by the Andalusian team. In addition, they shared costumes in the Coco Basile National Team until the 1994 World Cup in the United States.

Simeone with Maradona in 2014 (AFP).

Simeone with Maradona in 2014 (AFP).

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WHAT HAPPENED TO THAT T-SHIRT 9

The shirt was auctioned in 2018 in Italy (for 12 thousand euros)more than two decades after the match. Quite an heirloom. Lucky whoever keeps it today. A treasure of the soccer star.

Note illustration: Luciano Canet.