On June 22, millions of people were amazed by an authentic work of art composed by Maradona in the quarterfinals of the Mexico 86 World Cup. The Argentine ’10 ′ started from the midfield of the Azteca Stadium, left many English rivals painted on the way and defined with his exquisite class. The ‘Goal of the Century’ was baptized for what was for many the best goal in history
36 years have passed and that feat is remembered as if it were yesterday. And there is no better day than today to recapitulate some episodes of Maradona’s career. In fact, there are few Peruvian soccer players who have been able to face him on a field, either for friendly or official matches. But these anecdotes are worth telling and this is a great opportunity to do so.
Germán Leguía and the shirt that Diego de Boca gave him
The first time the ‘Pibe de Oro’ played on Peruvian soil was in 1979. He was only 18 years old, wearing the Argentinos Juniors shirt and already showing signs of a great future ahead of him. That time he arrived in Lima it was for a friendly against the Peruvian team, a match that is now well remembered by its protagonists. “It was already an out of series”recalls Germán Leguía, one of the players who played that match.
The game ended tied 2-2 and one of the goals was scored by Diego Maradona. But not everything ended there, because the ‘Pibe’ then looked for César Cueto and asked for his shirt to give it to one of his brothers. Months later, he became youth champion with Argentina in the 1979 World Cup in Japan.
Two years have passed since that special episode and Maradona returned to Peru in 1981 as a more consolidated star in Boca Juniors. Surprisingly, academic managed to agree on a friendly clash with the ‘Xeneize’ team and ‘Pelusa’ came along with other great figures of Argentine football, such as Ricardo Gareca, who is now the coach of the Peruvian national team.
“I was his fan (of Maradona), but something that the teacher Roberto Chale, who is my idol, always told me is that ‘it’s fine, but the star is you. When they come to your house, no one can disrespect you, whoever they are.’ I do respect a spectacular player like Diego. The stadium was packed. You can not imagine”evokes Germán Leguía, cream idol who also participated in that meeting.
At that time, it was incredible that a team like Boca Juniors come to the country to play a friendly match. “There have been more important matches against Palmeiras, Guaraní in the Copa Libertadores, but that match (against Boca) went down in history”Leguía expresses
In the National Stadium, in the presence of thousands of Peruvian fans, the ‘OR’ managed to stop the stars of ‘Xeneize’. A goal by Walter Escobar allowed the Merengue victory by the minimum difference. That yes, it was a quite complicated task to face Maradonawhich even had the support of the fans.
“He caught the ball and people stood up. On top of that, at the beginning he juggled a tennis ball or a balloon, and people went crazy, applauding him. It seemed like we were visiting.”remember ‘Cocoliche’.
German Leguia remember to Maradona with great joy. Even after the match, she had the opportunity to exchange words with him and ‘Pelusa’ gave her a T-shirt from the Boca Juniors. For this reason, ‘Cocoliche’, what stands out most about the Argentine star is his simplicity and friendliness, aspects of his person that he will never forget.
Jaime Duarte and the time that Maradona won in Matute
Five days after the match against academic, Boca Juniors He had to face nothing less than the other big club in Peru: Lima Alliance. After the defeat against the ‘U’, Maradona He did not want to leave the country empty-handed and sought a victory over the Blue and Whites.
“I was not a youth. He had already played the World Cup. So, it was facing a player like many I’ve faced. Without underestimating (…) Boca Juniors is a big club in a soccer country like Argentina. It was a friendly match that is nice to remember”says Jaime Duarte, who was part of the intimate team.
in the Matute, Maradona He exhibited his enormous talent and was a figure in his team’s final 2-1 victory over Alianza Lima. Although he did not score -the three goals were his own goal-, the ‘Pelusa’ lived a pleasant moment in the blue and white field.
At that time, Jaime Duarte already had a great experience, with a World Cup on him, and he did not shrink before a Maradona, who was just beginning to stand out with his football. “In 1981 he was a famous player, but his image as a player was more dimensioned after 1986 when he was already world champion”emphasizes who is now head of recruitment of minors in Lima Alliance.
One year has passed since the death of the Argentine star and the memories of his time in Peru are indelible. That Alliance Lima – Boca Juniors It was just a friendly, but now it takes more value, because it was one of the few times that Maradona visited the country.
“It made me very sad because one has seen him when he was just starting out and everything he went through. I am very sorry for the consequence of what fame was. Of course his departure, undoubtedly those of us who are footballers, hurt us. He represented an essence of football.”Duarte expresses.
Julio César Uribe and why he got on the same podium as the Argentine star
Diego Maradona he only played three official matches against the Peruvian national team and Julio César Uribe was present in all three matches. The ‘Diamond’ recognized that facing the ‘Fluff’ always meant a very big challenge, where the funny anecdotes could not be missing.
The football relationship between Uribe Y Maradona It started when they were both very young. The ‘Diamond’ recalls that they had a good friendship when they coincided in the youth teams of their respective countries. “A good relationship had been built, but the time came for us to confront each other and they kicked it to pieces”bill.
In March 1982, Uribe lived one of the most special moments in his career. The former Peruvian soccer player shared the podium with none other than Maradona and Zico. They were chosen as the three best in the continent, being the Argentine who led the recognition.
“It was one of the greatest satisfactions. Maradona He was the first, Zico the second and I had to be, as a Peruvian, the third. We were ‘ten’ that at that time we had an average of 19 or 20 goals per championship, a productivity that led us to that distinction “explains the ‘Diamond’.
One of the most special episodes of the ‘Blanquirroja’ was in the Qualifiers for the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. Argentina, Peru won 1-0 in Lima and drew 2-2 in Buenos Aires. In both matches, the figure of Luis Reyna grew larger after perfectly annulling Diego Maradona with a historic personal record.
“Lucho Reyna, although it is true in Lima he did not use the legal mechanisms, in Argentina he annulled it without fail. He played a great game, his entrusted work. Lucho was much more than a brand player”emphasizes Uribe.
Unfortunately, the draw on Argentine soil deprived Peru of the World Cup in Mexico and allowed the ‘Albiceleste’ to be present. The rest is history. With the “hand of God” and the famous “goal of the century”, Maradona conquered the World Cup and gave his country the greatest joy.
One year after his death, Julius Cesar Uribe remembers Maradona with much admiration. The adjectives to describe ‘Fluff’ were lacking, because on the field the virtues of the Argentine always prevailed.
“He was a brilliant player, different, unbalanced, extraordinary, unpredictable. He loved his family very much at the time. And, like all human beings, we have strengths and weaknesses, but he is a player that will always be in the minds of all of Argentina. He will always be valued and respected”express.
Álvaro Barco and “The Night of Diego” in Lima
The last time Diego Maradona visited the Peru It was in 2006 for an exhibition match where some foreign and national football legends were present. In the presence of 20,000 fans at the National Stadium in Lima, the Argentine star exposed brushstrokes of his enormous quality that he still had.
In that game called “The Night of Diego”, the ‘Pelusa’ shared a team with former Argentine, Paraguayan, Uruguayan and Brazilian soccer players. The rival was the Peruvian team, led by Julio Meléndez, who had a great friendship with Maradona.
Among the protagonists of that friendly encounter, was Alvaro Boat, who is now a sports manager. For the former Peruvian soccer player, the exhibition duel was an opportunity that could not be missed. Therefore, when he was summoned for that night, I did not doubt it for a second.
“It was a very great satisfaction. I never had the opportunity to face him. We have coincided footballingly at some moments, but due to different circumstances we could not face each other. Beyond the fact that this opportunity was in a friendly, the truth is that it is one of the memories that I keep with great affection in my sports career “evokes Barco.
Maradona’s team won that game 5-3 with a penalty goal from him. Joy was drawn on his face at the incessant applause of the Peruvian fans. When he left the field, the applause for his person was inevitable. And then the story continued backstage.
Alvaro Boat I was excited to be able to exchange words with Maradona in the locker room. There he took advantage of the occasion to ask for his signature on the shirts he had worn, especially on one of Boca Juniors that he later gave to his son.
“I have a shirt that my son keeps with great appreciation. He has a Boca shirt, the old model, which is signed and dedicated to my son. I took the opportunity so that he can have it signed. He has it in a frame above his bed.”bill.
That game was a very important moment not only for Maradona, but for all Peruvians who had the chance to play against him. Barco acknowledges that that night was historic because of what the Argentine star represents for football.
“He is a legend, a character that everyone knows. And being able to share with him, at least for a few minutes, I didn’t hesitate for a single second. I was one of the first to arrive at the stadium, one of the first to try to get the signature, to be able to share at least a couple of words. It is one thing to meet him from the stands and another thing is to share on the pitch”express.