THE VIEW FROM NAPLES: Maradona is a god in this city. People are walking around the streets like zombies, weeping at the news that Diego is dead
For a moment, Naples closed its eyes full of tears on Wednesday afternoon. The city lost its patron saint for the second time.
Diego Maradona is considered by all in Naples to be the greatest symbol of the city. As news filtered out about the Argentinian legend’s death, church bells began to ring throughout the streets.
The climate is surreal, especially in the centre of the historic city. Local citizens are crying and hugging each other, all while wearing masks on their faces. Cars are parked in the middle of the street with men smoking cigarettes.
Everything is still and everyone’s in mourning.
The city of Naples has gone into mourning after Diego Maradona passed away on Wednesday
The citizens of Naples have headed out to the streets in silence to pay respects to Maradona
The Argentinian forward, who died at 60, helped Napoli to two Serie A titles in 1987 and 1990
After Maradona’s death after a cardiac arrest was confirmed, the Argentinian Government announced that there would be three days of national mourning.
But for Naples this is day zero, it is year zero, it is the worst day in the life of the city in the last 20 years. It has lost its favourite son – one of the greatest men who have ever played the game.
Walking through the streets of the city is like being the protagonist of a tragic and moving film: the bars offer coffee to those on the street, the city is still for a different reason other than lockdown.
Naples has gone into standstill after Maradona’s death was announced on Wednesday
The footballer inspired many Naples residents across several generations in his playing days
Naples has chosen to stop for Diego Armando Maradona, Napoli has chosen to cry for the most beautiful child they have ever had: a black-haired angel full of curls, a man capable of drawing colorful pictures with a ball on the pitch.
All the fans are convinced that Maradona would have liked to die here in Naples, in his royal city, in the city where the brightest star in football was born.
Maradona has a mural painted on a building in the San Giovanni a Teduccio quarter of Naples. Over the next few hours, the people of Napoli will continue bringing flowers and letters under the eyes of Maradona.
Fans are heading to Maradona’s mural in San Giovanni a Teduccio that was funded by the club
The mural was funded by former Napoli captain Marek Hamsik when he was at the club, showing the impact of Maradona on not only the club’s supporters, but the countless generations of players who have followed the Argentinian in the blue of Napoli.
Another memorial site destined to fill up is the large image of Maradona, this time in the Napoli blue. Just a short walk away from Piazza del Plebiscito, the mural is dedicated to when the club’s infamous number 10 led Napoli to two Scudetto victories in 1987 and 1990
Angelo Pisani, one of Maradona’s lawyers who helped him through many issues in Italian football, was emotional when speaking about the player’s death on Wednesday evening.
Maradona has another mural near Piazza del Plebiscito where fans are flocking to in mourning
The Argentinian also has a spot in Naples called ‘Maradona Corner’ in Quartieri Spagnoli
Pisani told Sportsmail: ‘It’s the worst moment not only for me and for all of Napoli but it is the worst time for every person in love with football. Maradona was the light of this city and was the most important symbol of world football.
‘Today I am sad, this 2020 has torn the most important man in the history of world football from his life.
‘I was in contact with Maradona and my satisfaction is to have brought him back to Naples as a free man.’
To some, Maradona is a legend. But for the city of Naples, he is a God.
Maradona had a major impact on the city of Naples after arriving from Barcelona in 1984