Diego Maradona: How Naples has mourned its football 'god'

Sky in Italy's Valentina Fass reports from Naples on the city's mourning and long farewell to their hero, Diego Armando Maradona; candles, flowers, murals and shirts have been laid in his honour across the city

Maradona in Naples

The signs of his passing are everywhere. Candles, flowers, images of him on walls, scarves and shirts with the No 10 hanging from the clotheslines.

From when he arrived in 1984 it is as if Diego Maradona had never gone away from Napoli and he never will. He was a myth when he was alive and he remains a myth now.

From the traditional road of San Gregorio Armeno, where every year thousands of people take to the street to buy the world-renowned nativity figures - the Maradona figure was the first non-religious figure ever created - to the old Napoli training camp, Campo Paradiso, his presence will be felt forever.

Maradona in Naples

Diego Armando Maradona made Napoli dream and the people of Napoli will never forget this. When Maradona arrived in Napoli the team had never won and the city was going through a rough moment. In 1980, a terrible earthquake had badly hit and the town was finding it hard to recover. The club winning gave hope for life in general, as football was a way of uniting a city and its hinterland.

Walking into the Spanish quarters of the city in the days after his death, seeing his gigantic mural and the many, many candles on the ground together with the notes thanking him, felt like walking into a church. No-one would have been surprised seeing someone kneeling down in prayer.

They called him Dio - 'God' - and as such they have always treated him. Now they want to name the stadium after him. It only feels right to have a lasting sign of his passage through the city.

Maradona in Naples

The usually 10-year-long Italian bureaucracy to name a public street or building might take less than a month given the exceptional circumstances.

For the fans it is still too long. They already have put his name under the Curva B, the part of the stadium that was always closest to him.

The days go by, but the procession of people paying their respects is never-ending. His home in Napoli, the stadium, the Royal Palace where a huge image of Maradona was put up the day after his death: all these places are a symbol of his presence in the city.

Maradona in Naples

A wreath placed by former Italy manager Bruno Conti under the famous mural in the Spanish quarter is a sign of closeness to the Napoli fans and their great loss.

Napoli-Roma will be the second match after his death, but the first Serie A match on what used to be his stage, currently still San Paolo stadium. A minute's silence, a black armband on the left arm of the players are just some of the initiatives of the league.

The song 'Live is life' with the famous footage of Maradona's warm-up routine in 1989 will be projected pre-match, and a picture of him on the big screens in the 10th minute will be the tributes that remain most in people's minds.

Maradona in Naples

Unfortunately, not being able to have fans at the stadium will take away something of what Napoli-Roma could have been; of what kind of tribute the fans could have given him.

But surely the warmth of the people will still be felt as Napoli continue mourning and the long farewell to their hero, Diego Armando Maradona.

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