Years from now the 2010 FIFA World Cup Finals will be remembered for a few things. The Champions, the Vuvuzelas, the Jabulani, and the poor officiating which we were forced to witness. This World Cup will also be remembered for one individual, and his name is Diego Armando Maradona.
No longer the magnificent player who dazzled many of us in the 1986 World Cup, the ever controversial Maradona appeared in this World Cup as Argentina's Coach. Whether you love or hate him, no one can dispute that he was most entertaining figure to watch/listen to in this year's World Cup. For a man with limited coaching experience, Maradona led Argentina to the Quarterfinals where they tragically lost 4-0 to counter-attacking juggernaut, Germany.
Despite the loss, it was good to see Maradona at a place where he belongs: at a pitch. For a man who's always found ways to complicate his life off the pitch, it was spectacular to see him at his best. Remember, this is a man who in his prime was bigger than the sport of football.
How big of an icon is Maradona? When was last the last time a football icon insulted both Pele and Platini under the same breath. Before there was a Beckham, a Messi, a Rooney or a Ronaldo, there was Maradona.
Maradona will always be a player who enchanted us with his words and football skills. He will be remembered for "the Hand of God" and his marvelous second goal against England in the '86 World Cup. He will always be loved for taking Italian Serie A team Napoli to their most successful soccer era where he won two championships and a UEFA Championship.
Twenty-four years later, he still manages to enchant us. This time, his stage was the sidelines and what a magnificent performance he displayed for us! From his facial expressions, hugs & kisses and his passing the ball to the Nigerian player... we were hooked. Say what you want about Maradona but there's no denying that he was trying to coaching Argentina to a World Cup title.
For the qualifications Maradona may have lacked, he made up for it with his enthusiasm and love for the game and his team. And for that, I thank you Maradona.
I thank you for showing us the passion that made you great in your playing days. I also thank you for reminding us, that as human beings we have the potential to overcome our personal demon. If Diego Maradona can do it... so can we!
Thank you Maradona!