Napoli renamed San Paolo stadium to Diego Armando Maradona
Naples city council on Friday renamed the Napoli ground after late soccer genius and favourite adopted son Diego Armando Maradona.
The San Paolo Stadium is now the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium, in honour of the Argentina legend who led Napoli to its first and so far only scudetti in 1987 and 1990 as well as an Italian Cup in 1987 and a UEFA Cup in 1989.
Mayor Luigi de Magistris announced the renaming shortly after Maradona died last week at 60, saying “the people want it, they spoke unanimously”.
On Friday the council said “Maradona embodied the symbol of redemption of a team to which, in the darkest years, he showed that is is possible to get back up again, win and triumph, offering at the same time a message of hope and beauty to the whole city because, via the footballing victories of the Argentine champion, not only the Napoli team won but also the entire city that fully identifies in him.
“Maradona was always on the side of the weakest and the common people, he battled the prejudices and discrimination to which the Neapolitans were still subjeted inside stadiums, becoming the idol of the whole city which forgave him his human weaknesses and fragilities, which never overshadowed the greatness of the champion”.
Recalling that Maradona was made an honorary citizen of Naples in 2017, the council said “never has anyone been able to personify the body and soul of Naples in such a complete way” and said the ‘Pibe de Oro’ “shared his brilliance and uniqueness, but also his excesses and torments, which made him a real son of the city”.
It said Maradona was “loved and remembered also by those with no interest in football, or by those who did not live through the years of his successes.
“The outpourings of grief and the accolades received surpassed all sporting, social, geographical, political and religious boundaries, with extremely rare precedents, so as to make renaming ‘his’ Neapolitan stadium a unanimous chorus extending far beyond the city’s fans”.