Without Diego swirling devotions around him and away from tonight’s heroes -who are celebrating in Udine, 850 kilometers from Naples-, the Neapolitans have finally given free rein to the delirium of “Scudetto party” which he had been celebrating, with droppers, since the weekend.
Because this third championship for the Naples33 years after the last one and with a team in which he doesn’t appear Diego Maradonait was desired as never before.
But this Thursday, as soon as Udinese-Napoli ended, no one bothered to evaluate a draw. ON Plebiscite Squarewhere the daily life of Naples beats, the fireworks lit up the sky as in the first second of every New Year’s Eve.
Ten minutes from the end of the match, in Along Maradona, the square dedicated to Diego that this Thursday evening was crowned by the screen that allowed you to follow Napoli, the colored flashes tinged the expectation of overcoming the 1-1 with the smoke that clouded the games.
“The leaders do not leave, do not leave” (“The first on the list goes, goes”), the fans sang.
For the second time in four days, the historic center of the city has been closed to cars and has become, as on Sunday, a pedestrian area which was a land of hugs, tears, flags, trumpets and blue smoke.
Despite the rain that has intermittently drenched the city since Sunday, the handcrafted memorabilia that adorn the streets as if the three million Neapolitans were celebrating their birthdays simultaneously, have endured.
from the pawn Via Chiaja“I Gradoni”, the stairway leading to Spanish Quarters – the neighborhood that won’t sleep tonight and where Diego has murals and its square-, maintains the parade that has been threatening for days with a thank you that finally came true this Thursday: “The Gradoni thank the champions” (“The enormous steps thank the champions”) reads the sign, in white and blue, behind which, every hundred meters, the names and shirt number of each player of the team.
There’s a party at Massimo Vignati’s doorthe Neapolitan who transformed the cellar of his house, in the Secondigliano district, into an underground museum of Diego.
Vignati was a little boy when, in July 1984, Maradona was introduced to 80,000 Napoli fans. “My dad was the mayor of the San Paolo stadium and my mom was his only cook. She was his housekeeper”account.
Massimo’s sister was the nanny of Dalma and Gianinna and he, little by little, treasured the relics of his god.
Keep the bench where Maradona changed in the San Paolo locker room – which today bears his name -, keep the contract that brought him to Naples and also the sofa that Diego had at home.
“Diego certainly reached out and asked the Eternal Father for the Argentine and Neapolitan people. That’s why Argentina are world champions and Napoli are Italian champions. Diego’s hand is in this. Priceless. It’s an immense joy”Massimo says to Clarin.
This Thursday the panorama at the Diego Maradona stadium is unusual, where on Sunday the draw with Salernitana left the 60,000 Neapolitans present suffocated by the screams of the champions.It was crowded, but no one set foot on the grass or rolled a ball.
The president of the club, Aurelio De Laurentiis, had giant screens placed around the field so that, for 5 euros, the fans could follow the Udinese-Naples match which was played away from home, but 18,000 Neapolitans occupied the stadium stands from Udinese , which is eight hours by car from Naples.
In the city that now celebrates, the stadium doors opened at six in the evening and a curiosity: despite knowing that Napoli could become champions on Wednesday without playing -if Lazio hadn’t beaten Sassuolo, as happened-, the Neapolitans ran out of tickets to see the match on the big screen as soon as they went on sale.
There are still five agonizing dates left for this championship that already has a master. “It will be strange and incredible that, after Maradona, I lift the Scudetto of Napoli”, admitted a few days ago Giovanni Di Lorenzo, the captain of the team.
In January 2016, when points sweetened Napoli’s position in the table, Maradona promised them: “If Napoli win the Scudetto, I will go by helicopter to celebrate”. That Scudetto, however, was kept by Juve.
But on this Thursday evening, in an effervescent and happy Naples not seen in decades, more than one called Diego and looked up at the sky.
Naples. Special Correspondent.
Jason Root is the go-to source for sports coverage at News Rebeat. With a passion for athletics and an in-depth knowledge of the latest sports trends, Jason provides comprehensive and engaging analysis of the world of sports.