On September 22, 1992, Spanish football would once again open the doors to Diego Armando Maradona , already in the final stretch of his career. After a 15-month sanction imposed by FIFA, the product of a cocaine doping in a match against Bari playing for Napoli, Sevilla led by Carlos Salvador Bilardo would give him a new opportunity to return to the Iberian Peninsula, after his passage for Barcelona between 1982 and 1984.
For the arrival of Ten to Andalusian lands, the Argentine coach was a key piece, since he made a special request to the president of that time, Luis Cuervas: “Presi, signing Diego now is a gift.” In this way, Narigón convinced the boss, Sevilla paid about 750 million pesetas (around 7.5 million dollars) to be allowed to leave Italy and signed a contract for one season.
“When he (Sevilla) signed him, we were all excited to see him in action, to know how he trained,” said his former teammate Rafael Paz Marín , popularly known as Rafa Paz.
On October 4, 1992, Maradona made his official debut in the fall of Sevilla against Athletic Bilbao by 2 to 1, despite the fact that before being substituted his team was winning 1 to 0. From that day on, he played 29 games. and scored seven goals .
His best football had already passed, but his legend and quality were still intact. “The technical concepts, the class, he had a special gift. You could tell the football on the street. He did not like to go out to the field and not come back muddy, ” acknowledged Paz, who was not only a colleague, but also a neighbor of Diez.
“We lived just 300 meters away. We did not have the possibility of going to have a beer in the neighborhood, since you could not go out being Maradona. He could not walk around, or go to certain places. Diego suffered from that situation, ”remarked the 59-year-old Spaniard in a heads-up with Infobae from Andalusia.
In addition, the former midfielder revealed details of Diego’s debut at Sevilla. How was the previous one lived at San Mamés, how the local public received it and the hard tackle it suffered from a rival. Also, the gifts he gave them for the end of the year, the day he attended a homeless man on the street and why he was “very generous with his companions.”
I remember a lot, it was fantastic. The expectation that was generated with the arrival of Diego was enormous. And we live it very intensely. The debut was in Bilbao, with a lot of expectation and on a great playing field as he deserved it. It was in the Cathedral of San Mamés. Diego showed interest in starting strong and in a scenario as important for local football as that.
It was special and beautiful. We were used to living with a lot of intensity because we were part of a league like the Spanish one, which is very strong, but his arrival transformed everything. We live a special sauce, with a little more intensity in every way. It was a unique experience. That preview was very emotional because we wanted to see Diego on the pitch again after 15 months of standing.
In the beginning no, because in training he showed very good physical strength. It is true that I had special training sessions in gyms, with a very important physical load. He prepared himself for the occasion. It was noticeable in practice after quite a long break. But his technical part obviously kept it intact, because he was going to have it for life.
Somehow yes. But it was so much what he carried inside, his desire to return and the desire to show the world that he was alive, that it was not noticed in his first game. Very little was noticed on the court when he came into action from the magic on his feet.
If we look at the games he had at Sevilla, there were several that were excellent, such as the one he played against Real Madrid in our stadium, and even his debut in Bilbao, which was not bad at all. Every time he caught the ball he showed his magic and talent.
He transmitted normality and serenity to us. I wanted us to be calm. He made us understand that he was just another partner and we treated him as such. He asked us not to stress in that way. The only thing he asked us was that we give him the ball, that he returned it to us for sure. The technical concepts, the class, had a special gift. You could tell the football on the street.
The Bilbao versus Seville matches were always very tough. San Mamés Diego already knew him, since he played for Barcelona. It was a very noble game, at the same time intense and very hard. A field where to win you must give everything and compete at the highest level.
Fluff knew that he was returning to a field where he was loved very much for his figure, but that they were going to make it difficult for him and with the intention of trying to stop him at any cost. Then, there were a couple of strong innings, where they put the stamp on him and his rivals told him: “We are in full competition and in a difficult field to beat. We are not going to make it easy for you ”. Even so and everything was banned, and had a good debut.
It did not go unnoticed, apart from the fact that it is a very stately stadium with a lot of sportsmanship. In that stadium, when the rival does something good, it is recognized. And when not, it is totally respectful. The audience vibrated as always.
But Diego’s presence was noticeable on the green grass and it was transmitted to the stands. The atmosphere was normal, but a little accentuated by the presence of the Argentine who was always going to have that repercussion anywhere in the world.
It was a very good version. At certain times, especially in the match we did at home against Real Madrid, he had a forceful participation. A game came out showing the talent that Diego had. But it was not that of Barsa or Napoli.
His sole presence was imposed. It was nothing, but it was everything. Being with him was special and different, compared to the rest of the players. One more partner, but since we idolized him as an athlete, he was different from everyone else. He did things that I didn’t see anyone else.
As a person he gave himself to his companions. It was very simple, but knowing everything, he was among the greatest in the history of football. It was special, you could see it even in the rallies. You could tell the football on the street. Each ball controlled and returned in a different way. He transmitted football through every pore. He did not like to go out into the country and not come back muddy.