The story appears on

Page A16

November 27, 2020

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Sports » Soccer

Napoli’s St Paul stadium to be named for Maradona

Move over St Paul and make way for Maradona.

The mayor of Naples started a formal process to rename the San Paolo stadium for Diego Maradona yesterday.

The move comes with the city in mourning for the soccer great, who died on Wednesday of a heart attack at age 60, two weeks after being released from a hospital in Buenos Aires following brain surgery.

“We are already putting it together this morning, taking the first steps to dedicate Naples’ stadium to Maradona,” Luigi De Magistris said. “It’s a process but it will be a quick process, because when there is such a strong desire there’s nothing that will hold us up.

“We’re hoping to make it coincide with the resumption of games with fans,” he added.

The city operates the San Paolo stadium, where Maradona led Napoli to its only two Serie A titles in 1987 and 1990.

Built after World War II, the stadium was named for St Paul according to the legend that the apostle docked in the surrounding Fuorigrotta area when he reached Italy.

“I think it’s fair to name San Paolo after you, to have you still with us as a witness to the sublime path that this squad has undertaken,” Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis said in an open letter to Maradona. “Yours were unforgettable years in Neapolitans’ memories. A symbol of a renewal and a desired resurrection.”

Napoli was playing Croatian side Rijeka yesterday in the Europa League in a match that will be empty of fans due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, fans were already outside the stadium on Wednesday and into yesterday morning waving banners, singing songs and lighting flares in Maradona’s honor — even though gatherings are technically banned in the city due to the coronavirus.

“Maradona is like a father, like a brother, a family member for us,” said one fan outside the stadium, Raffaele Cuomo. “Unfortunately it’s like someone from the family died, and it’s like a part of Naples has died.”

When Maradona joined Napoli in 1984, the southern club had won virtually nothing and was far removed both geographically and socio-economically from the country’s soccer capitals of Milan and Turin.

“It sparked the revival of a people,” De Magistris said. “He loved Naples and so he wanted to — via soccer — make the world aware of a city full of humanity, affection, energy and fantasy.”

Il Mattino, Naples’ leading newspaper, had a front-page headline yesterday that said simply, “Grazie” — “Thank You.”




 

Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend