Categories: Sports

Memories of an incomparable legend: the testimonies of Peruvians who faced Maradona

The football legend of Diego Armando Maradona it is known all over the world. In its glorious years, the ‘Fluff’ exhibited its incomparable quality in almost every corner of the planet. And, as it could not be an exception, the Argentine star also left his mark on Peruvian soil.

Exactly a year ago, millions of people mourned the death of Maradona. The laments spread in Argentina, in Italy, in Spain, in Peru … absolutely everywhere. It is the first anniversary of his death and there is no better day than November 25 to remember some chapters of his career.

There are few Peruvian footballers who have been able to face Maradona on a field, either for friendly or official matches. There are many anecdotes that are valuable to tell and this is a great occasion to do so.

University triumph against Boca de Maradona in 1981

. He was only 18 years old, he wore the Argentinos Juniors shirt and was already showing signs of his great future ahead. 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 the ordinary”, recalls Germán Leguía, one of the players who played that match.

The match ended level 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 was youth champion with Argentina at the 1979 World Cup in Japan.

Two years have passed since that special episode and.

“I was his fan (of Maradona), but something that maestro Roberto Chale, who is my idol, always told me is that ‘it’s okay, 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) remained in history”, says Leguía

. Of course, it was quite a difficult task to face Maradona, which even had the support of the fans.

“He would grab the ball and people would stand up. On top of that, at the beginning he juggled a tennis ball or a balloon, and people would go crazy, applaud him. It seemed that we were visiting “, remember ‘Cocoliche’.

German Leguía remember to Maradona with great joy. After the game, he even had the opportunity to exchange words with him and ‘Pelusa’ gave him a T-shirt from Boca Juniors. For this reason, ‘Cocoliche’ what stands out most of the Argentine star is his simplicity and sympathy, aspects of his person that he will never forget.

Against the other great: friendly Alianza Lima – Boca Juniors in 1981

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 juvenile. He had already played the World Cup. So, it was to face a player like many that I have faced. Without underestimating (…) Boca Juniors is a big club from a soccer country like Argentina. It was a friendly match that is nice to remember “, pronounces Jaime Duarte, who was part of the intimate team.

. Although he did not score -the three goals were at 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 top, and he did not shrink from a Maradona, who was just beginning to emerge with his football. “In 81 ′ he was a famous player, but his image as a player was more dimensioned from 86 ′ when he was already world champion”, emphasizes who is now head of the recruitment of minors in Lima Alliance.

It has been one year 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.

“I was very sorry because one has seen him when he was just beginning and everything he went through. I am very sorry for the consequence of what was fame. Of course, his departure, undoubtedly those of us in football, hurt us. He represented an essence of football “, says Duarte.

The memory of Maradona against the Peruvian team

. The ‘Diamond’ recognized that facing the ‘Pelusa’ always meant a very big challenge, where funny anecdotes could not be absent.

The football relationship between Uribe and Maradona It started when they were both very young. The ‘Diamond’ remembers that they had a good friendship when they coincided in the youth teams of their respective countries. “They had made a good relationship, but the time came to confront each other and they kicked him out”, bill.

In March 1982, Uribe lived one of the most special moments in his career. The former Peruvian footballer shared the podium with nothing less than Maradona and Zico. They were chosen as the three best in the continent, with the Argentine who led the recognition.

“It was one of the greatest satisfactions. Maradona was the first, Zico the second and I had to be, as a Peruvian, the third. We were ‘ten’ who at that time 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 qualifying rounds for the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.

“Lucho Reyna, although it is true in Lima he did not use the legal mechanisms, in Argentina he annulled it without fail. He made a great game, his work was entrusted. Lucho was much more than a brand player “, emphasizes Uribe.

Unfortunately, the tie 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 brought the greatest joy to his country.

One year after his death, Julio Cesar Uribe he remembers Maradona with much admiration. The adjectives to describe the ‘Pelusa’ were missing, because on the court the virtues of the Argentine always predominated.

“He was a brilliant, different, unbalancing, extraordinary, unpredictable player. He loved his family very much at the time. And, like all human beings, we have strengths and weaknesses, but he is a player who will always be on the minds of all of Argentina. It will always be valued and respected “, expresses.

The 2006 exhibition and the souvenir of the signed shirts

. In the presence of 20 thousand fans at the National Stadium in Lima, the Argentine star exposed touches of his enormous quality that he still had.

In that game called “La noche del Diego”, the ‘Pelusa’ shared a team with former Argentine, Paraguayan, Uruguayan and Brazilian footballers. The rival was the Peruvian team, led by Julio Meléndez, who had a great friendship with Maradona.

Among the protagonists of that friendly meeting, was Alvaro Barco, 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 a chance to face it. We have coincided in football at times, but due to different circumstances we could not face each other. Beyond the fact that this opportunity has been in a friendly, the truth is that it is one of the memories that I keep with great affection within my sports career “, evokes Barco.

. The rejoicing was drawn on his face before the incessant ovation of the Peruvian fans. When he left the field, the applause for him was inevitable. And then the story continued backstage.

Alvaro Barco he was excited to be able to exchange words with Maradona in the locker room. There he took the opportunity to ask for his signature on the shirts he had worn, especially one from Boca Juniors that he later gave to his son.

“I have a shirt that my son keeps with great appreciation. He has a Boca t-shirt, of the old model, which is signed and dedicated to my son. I took the opportunity to 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 for what the Argentine star represents for football.

“He is a legend, a character known to everyone. And to be able to share with him, at least a few minutes, I did not hesitate for a single second. I was one of the first to arrive at the stadium, one of the first to try to get a signature, to be able to share at least a couple of words. One thing is to meet him from the stands and another thing is to share on the pitch “, expresses.