45 years after the debut of Diego Maradona

45 years ago Diego Armando Maradona was a teenager who made his debut in the First Division and with his figure he marked a before and after in Argentine football. On this occasion, the date takes on a special meaning because It is the first anniversary after the death of the ten.

On that unforgettable day, the “little onion” who already amazed many for his juggling in the halftimes of the first-class games, entered the second half of the game to illuminate the opaque Argentine football of those years with a ray of genius.

45 years later and without Maradona physically present in this world, this date marks the beginning of the times of greatest glory for the national sport and the awakening of an unconditional love between the greatest genius of world football and a people who erected him as a pagan god, an avenger with the “albiceleste” coat.

“Come in and play as you know. If you can pull a pipe,” Argentinos Juniors coach Juan Carlos Montes told Diego in the locker room when he told him at halftime of the game against Talleres that he was entering the field.

Maradona it did not disappoint. Faithful to his pasture lineage, the new star of Argentine soccer, in his first play and 10 days after his 16th birthday, Juan Cabrera, from Cordoba, made a phenomenal noise at the wheel that aroused the admiration of those present and their first applause.

When Diego entered with the number 16 jersey instead of Rubén Giacobetti, Talleres -which was the sensation team in the interior of the country- was already winning 1 to 0 with a goal converted by the exquisite midfielder Luis “Hacha” Ludueña.

The former defender of the national team and player for Talleres de Córdoba, Luis Galván, reported years later that this match was calmly dominated by the “T”, until the future captain of Argentina entered.

“From then on, everything changed. Diego put the team on his shoulder and they cornered us in our arc. We ended up defending the victory. We couldn’t believe what that boy was doing with a huge hair full of curlers “Galván recalled.

The old wooden stadium of Argentinos was almost full, a product that spread word of mouth about the possible debut of this young “onion.” At the time, Diego was moving from his native Villa Fiorito to Villa del Parque, where the club had rented him a house for the whole family. The day before, on Tuesday, October 19, 1976, he learned that he would be on the team’s bench for the first time, on the new date of the National Tournament that year.

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Maradona woke up on the 20th at his home in Fiorito -the team was not concentrating- and with his only dress pants he traveled in a group with his father -Don Diego- with the illusion of his first game in the First Division.

Gone were many illusions, his first steps in the southern countryside of Greater Buenos Aires, his arrival at the “Cebollitas” at the hands of Francisco Cornejo, the 1974 “Evita” tournaments and the pirouettes in between times on the La Paternal.

Diego was already writing his rich history without knowing it, and on that trip he had the illusion of enjoying the ball, he was accumulating desires and anxieties in a proportional amount.

Few know that on two occasions, while he was a member of the lower divisions of Argentinos Juniors, he was about to go to River Plate. Just the “millionaires”, the team that was his obsession as a fervent Boca fan that he already was, after flirting with Independiente, mainly because of his devotion to his greatest idol: Ricardo Bochini.

The first opportunity was when he signed for Argentinos when a former River player promised “the gold and the Moor” to Diego’s father and the second time, already in 1975, when he was in the fifth and the field assistant of Angel Labruna, Federico Vairo, was amazed by the game of “Ten”.

The fate of the best player in the world was already marked: he was going to make his debut at the right time and in the right place. Gone are years of suffering and postponement for the whole family, a place from which Diego detached himself from the material, while keeping in his memory the affective ties that precariousness cannot break in a united family.

The story after that October 20 is too well known, the dreams came true: scorer, the National Team, Boca, Europe, the world title, the rise from hell, death, life and glory.

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