Maradona’s loss of life on Wednesday on the age of 60 has left the whole soccer world in mourning. The ache is felt most strongly in his native Argentine and in Naples, the place supporters gathered to pay tribute to him within the metropolis streets and out of doors Napoli’s Stadio San Paolo. El Pibe de Oro (The Golden Child) scaled his biggest heights in main Argentina to World Cup glory in Mexico in 1986, whereas at membership degree his best moments got here with Napoli, the place he received two Serie A titles in 1987 and 1990 in addition to the UEFA Cup in 1989.
But it was after that latter victory, secured within the last in opposition to VfB Stuttgart, that Maradona might have joined Marseille, doubtlessly altering the course of footballing historical past. OM had simply received a league and cup double, their first silverware in additional than a decade sparking a interval wherein they dominated the French sport and went on to win the Champions League in 1993. Maradona might have been part of that success.
Asif Kapadia’s acclaimed 2019 documentary about Maradona options footage of the participant’s on-pitch interview after Napoli’s 1989 UEFA Cup last win wherein he revealed his need to depart. And Marseille have been seemingly first in line.
Marseille ‘provided to double my wage’
“The Marseille board contacted me and provided to double my wage,” Maradona recalled in an interview with France Soccer journal revealed solely final month. “I used to be at Napoli and the president (Corrado) Ferlaino had instructed me that if we received the (UEFA) Cup he would let me depart.”
Marseille president Bernard Tapie and Michel Hidalgo, the previous France coach who was working for the membership in an upstairs function, each travelled to Milan to satisfy Maradona and attempt to full a deal.
“They got here to Italy to make me a proposal and in order that we might have discussions,” Maradona added. “After I went again to Naples I mentioned to Ferlaino ‘thanks president for all these nice years, I’m off’. However he began enjoying dumb, as if he didn’t perceive, and went again on his phrase. That was the tip of the story.”
Tapie even appeared on TF1’s cult present Telefoot to speak overtly concerning the deal he was making an attempt to push by means of.
“For a number of months there have been three protagonists. Initially the participant, who on the finish of final season mentioned he didn’t need to keep at Napoli and had expressed a need to come back to Marseille,” Tapie says.
“There was me, who was very blissful to welcome him to Marseille as a result of I believe he’s one of the best participant on this planet, after which there’s Napoli who maintain his contract and have mentioned they won’t let him go elsewhere.”
In the identical interview Tapie is reminded that he already has the utmost three international gamers in his squad, in line with guidelines on the time, within the Brazilian Carlos Mozer, Chris Waddle and Enzo Francescoli.
“If Mozer, Waddle and Francescoli win me the European Cup, in that case Maradona and I can go off on vacation collectively, but when that’s not the case then we’ll want to seek out one other answer,” Tapie says earlier than claiming that he’s able to pay Maradona 20 million francs a yr. “That’s nothing. It’s a lot lower than paying 50,000 to a participant from Laval.”
When Toulouse beat Maradona’s Napoli…
Three years earlier Maradona did play in France. He was the largest draw round in October 1986 – having led his nation to World Cup glory a couple of months earlier – when he turned out at Le Stadium to play Toulouse within the UEFA Cup first spherical, second leg with Napoli.
The Italians had scraped a 1-0 win at residence within the first leg of their first European tie since signing Maradona for a world-record payment from Barcelona in 1984. And they also have been favourites to safe progress within the return, even when Toulouse have been a good group on the time and had completed fourth within the league within the earlier marketing campaign. Jacques Santini was their coach. Two of their gamers – goalkeeper Philippe Bergeroo and striker Yannick Stopyra – had gone to the Mexico World Cup with France. Toulouse even had the Argentine left-back Alberto Tarantini, who received the 1978 World Cup.
…and Diego missed a penalty
In entrance of virtually 35,000 followers, Stopyra’s Fifteenth-minute aim put Toulouse forward on the evening and levelled the scores on combination. With no additional targets they went to penalties the place, extremely, Maradona missed Napoli’s final kick. His strike hit the put up then struck the thigh of Bergeroo and rebounded away, to ship Toulouse by means of.
The Maradona-era Napoli did have higher luck on their different go to to France although: they have been drawn in opposition to Girondins de Bordeaux within the UEFA Cup third spherical in 1988-89 and got here away from the Parc Lescure with a 1-0 win within the first leg. A 0-0 draw within the return secured Napoli’s progress, and so they went on to carry the trophy earlier than the saga of Maradona’s transfer to Marseille that by no means was performed out.