It is no doubt considered terribly bad form to make uncomplimentary remarks about the state of former Argentine football god, Diego Maradona, who has been in hospital for the past few days after suffering heart trouble. The decline in fortune of a man considered by some to have been the best footballer in the world is indeed sad and a terrible warning about the dangers of drugs. The tragedy is all too evident when one contemplates the contrast between the svelte little maestro who could destroy defences at will with the bloated fellow of today.
But this man loses a certain amount of my natural sympathy for the afflicted by the fact that he chose to recuperate for a number of years in Cuba and befriended the dictator of that afflicted nation, Fidel Castro. In some circles admiration for this man is still considered vaguely cool. Sorry, no dice, Diego. You have given a tiny morsel of PR for Fidel’s odious regime.
For all my harsh words, though, I hope Maradona gets better and can do something productive with the rest of his life. At his peak, there has probably not been a greater player since George Best, another man who has drained the cup of public sympathy rather a lot in recent years.