One name I should have known before coming to Argentina was Diego Maradona. This name is more commonly heard than any other. The fame of politicians and celebrities alike cannot compare to the monumental eminence (and notoriety) of this man.
Maradona played for the Argentine national soccer team from the 1970’s until the mid 1990s, and is considered one of the best players of all time. This man, indeed legend, is an Argentine superhero. Argentine’s joke that they ‘worship at the church of Maradona’, because he is indeed a god.
Maradona certainly thinks he is god.
He scored a very questionable goal using his hand in a world cup game against England in the 1980s. When confronted about using his hand to score the goal, Maradona answered: “It was the hand of God.”
If you’d like to see it for yourself:
During his soccer career Maradona was constantly getting in trouble for his outrageous interviews where he constantly referred to himself in the third person, and his insuperable cocaine habit. He was even banned from several European countries due to his inability to pass drug tests and tax evasion. Over time his drug addiction took its toll and his athletic ability and general health began to decline. He gained massive amounts of weight and underwent a gastric bypass surgery, and was hospitalized more than once for drug overdoses.
Maradona had all the talent in the world and he wasted it away on drugs. Another case of hubris and hamartia, Maradona is a tragic hero. I guess it makes sense for a fallen country to worship a fallen hero, because like Maradona, Argentina has expansive natural resources, yet cannot overcome its problems or surmount its third world status.
Today Maradona is the coach of the Argentine National Team – so look for him if you watch the game on Sunday.
Church of Maradona: http://www.iglesiamaradoniana.com.ar/