Maradona Documentary Packs Plenty Of Catholic Imagery To Go With Its Soccer

Religion Unplugged | 9/13/2019 | Staff
blacky (Posted by) Level 3
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This engrossing documentary, whether intentional or not, doesn’t shy away from using religious imagery to tell Maradona’s story. After all, Maradona was born and raised a Roman Catholic in the slums on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. It was there he learned to play soccer on the streets, juggling a ragged ball for hours to the amazement of his friends and neighbors. Since the documentary has no narrator, the first-person reflections of Maradona, his family and those around him offer a raw and unfiltered look into his past. Some 85,000 fans packed the San Paolo Stadium in Naples (yes, stadiums in Italy are named after saints) upon Maradona’s arrival to the city just to watch him juggle a ball and take a victory lap. It was love at first sight for the fans.

What emerges in this film is a man of contradictions. The documentary (in Spanish and Italian with English subtitles) makes it a point to differentiate between two men and hence its title. One was “Diego,” a simple boy who wanted to play soccer as a way out of poverty. The other was “Maradona,” a reckless buffoon hellbent on hurting himself. It is here that Maradona’s piety also comes into question. Not afraid to make the sign of the cross each time he entered the field, Maradona admits that soccer is a game that involves both skill and the ability to be cunning.

Salvation - Maradona - Game

“This was my salvation,” Maradona says when speaking about the game.

Maradona displayed that very essence in the quarterfinals of the 1986 World Cup in Argentina’s 2-1 win against England, a game that took place just a few years after the Falklands War. Maradona scored twice in that game. The first goal by punching the ball past goalkeeper Peter Shilton. He would...
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