He was a star, a rebel, who used to worship football on ground. And became God ultimately. That is what Mr Alcides Ghiggia’s evaluation of none other than Diego Armando Maradona. Maradona has breathed his last on Wednesday night. Several hours have passed by since then. The demise has left the whole world in shock. The tragedy unleashed a wave of emotions all across the spectrum.
Like everywhere this tragedy has shaken the Ghiggia family too hard. Legendary Alcides Ghiggia, the wining goal scorer of the 1950 world cup final, was a serious fan of Maradona and considered him the Greatest one, much ahead of Pele.
Controversies have struck Maradona all through his life. There were several instances where he spoke ill against Messi, Ronaldo. He could not even spare Pele with whom he has been in the race for decades to be considered the greatest. Whatever may be for others cases, he had a great respect, admiration for Alcides Ghiggia. Ghiggia is said to be first superstar of football world. The Uruguayan star became the first player ever to score in every game of a World Cup edition. If Maradona, Pele are regarded as Vishnu and Maheswar resoectively, Alcides sure is Brahma.
Though he has not played enough, just a goal in 1950 world cup against Brazil has bestowed immortality upon him, put him among the greatests.
His son Arcadio Ghiggia, also a footballer and now a coach with local Montevideo club, in an exclusive chat with Indian Express shares his father Alcides and Maradona’s mutual respect to each other. “I don’t feel like saying anything at this hour of grief. I’m not feeling well since hearing yesterday’s terrible news. We are devastated. Diego is above everything. He is ultimate superstar.”
Then Arcadio adds, “My father became very fond of Maradona when living in Italy. The Argentine star rose to international fame while playing for Napoli. That’s where my father met him several times. We were actually of Italian descendants. My father was mesmerised by young Maradona’s skill.”
Ghiggia has become a myth in football history after scoring the last minute goal, causing a heartbreak for millions of brazilian supporter. After helping Uruguay lift the first ever World Cup trophy Ghiggia delivered one of the most famous quotes ever, “Only three people have ever silenced 200,000 people at the Maracana with a single gesture – Frank Sinatra, Pope John Paul II and me.”
Maradona since his childhood had heard about Ghiggia’s heroics at that World cup. And used to dream of playing world cup final one day. Ghiggia died on July 16, 2015, exactly 65 years after scoring his big goal, at the age of 88. That is when Maradona wrote in his facebook post, “Ghiggia is my teacher in football.”
Son Arcadio recalls those fond memories, “My dad was so addicted to Maradona that he brought me to a Italian championship match. Napoli played against Lazio. I still remember every minute of that match, how enthralling, breathtaking Maradona was! My father used to tell us Maradona is of another planet, super human. A mortal can never do things what he does with his left leg.”
The grief stricken Arcadio could not continue longer. His voice gets cracked while saying, “Maradona and we have met face to face very few times. And we don’t have a single picture with him. My father on his deathbed regretted that fact. We consider it as sin. Now sharing a same picture with him will never happen again. Father and Diego both have gone to eternity.”
Be it from Buenos Aires or from Dubai Maradona used to dial ghiggia number. Since yesterday this has gone to past. Maradona finally gets time to visit his football ‘teacher’.
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