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Maradona: It takes an Argentine….

Over at True/Slant, Marcelo Ballvé today writes on Diego Maradona and this humble corner of cyberspace thoroughly recommends his note as a fair and balanced piece of journalism on the man. Ballvé has the advantages of 1) being Argentine himself 2) being away from the cauldron that is Argentina 3) being a good and perceptive writer. The result is an excellent summary of the life of one of South America’s most famous sons. Here’s a small extract as an appetite-whetter.

For better or worse, the Maradona highlight reel looms over the sport.

On Saturday, for example, the United States played England, and the English goalie botched a relatively easy save, clumsily fumbling the ball into the goal, allowing the underdog Americans to tie the game. The next day an English tabloid dubbed the incident “Hand of Clod.”

Soccer fans would know instantly that the quip is not original, but an allusion to Maradona’s line about his notorious goal against England in the quarterfinals of a World Cup 24 years ago in Mexico.

In that game, Maradona leapt to contest a ball near the goal, and coming up against the limits of his diminutive stature, punched it into the goal with his fist. The referee didn’t spot the handball, and Argentina won the game 2-1.

Asked later if it had been a handball, Maradona declared straight-faced it had been the “hand of God.”

However, this same gold-chain decorated midfielder who cheated to score one goal, also delivered a score in the same game considered the most brilliant World Cup score ever. It was a one-man dribbling assault from half-field with a perfect finish. Maradona led Argentina to win that World Cup.

Glory and shame, in equal measures— that has been Maradona’s legacy.

Read the whole thing here. Highly recommended.

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