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Stolen jerseys of Claudio Caniggia, the one he wore to score and shove out Italy in 1990 World Cup recovered, ‘Claudio excited happy!’

Did you know Caniggia could have played for Argentina in the 2010 world cup years after retirement? “My biggest regret”

Former Argentina footballer Claudio Caniggia. (File)
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Remember Claudio Caniggia, the Argentine known as El Hilo del Vent (The Son of the Wind) with his golden locks tailing him as he would twist and turn his way? A good friend of Diego Maradona, he was once banned for 13 months in 1993 for taking cocaine.

The jerseys that El Pajaro (The Bird, another nickname) he wore during 1990 world cup in Italy were stolen from his father’s home in Buenos Aires. Including the one he scored against Italy. It was a splendid assist from Maradona, weaving, twisting, fooling at least 7 defenders before he would cross it to Caniggia, who waited for the goalie to rush out, took a short detour, and slammed it in. The other jersey was worn against Nigeria in the same world cup.

Telam news agency reported that police carried out a raid at a home in the Alto Verde neighbourhood of Cordoba in the Cordovan capital along with personnel from the Argentine Federal Police.

“Claudio is in Rome, he is excited and happy with the recovery of these shirts that were very important to him,” his lawyer, José Vera , told the agency.

The Jerseys had Caniggia’s signatures scrawled on their back, the police told reporters. The theft had occurred after the death of Caniggia’s father.

Caniggia was shaken by the death of Maradona. “You do not want to live the life Diego Maradona lived. Every day. Every day. From 17-years-old ‘til the end of his life. It was not easy. I tell you, it was not easy,” he once told The Scotsman.

“I have great memories. I want to think about the great memories,” Caniggia continues. “The people around him will know the story of his last years. It makes me angry, I do not want to talk about this. Maybe you have read about the environment around him in the last years, especially when he came back to Argentina.”“I was going to the training ground once in a while at the team he was coaching – Gimnasia,” explains Caniggia. “I would see the games, go into the dressing room, speak to him ten minutes before the game and then watch the game. I did it a few times. And then Covid came, I had not seen him for a while. And then he died.”

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It’s not well known that Caniggia nearly played the 2010 world cup, years after his retirement. Maradona was Argentina’s coach and the general manager Carlos Bilardo met up with Caniggia with the offer to do what Roger Milla did for Cameroon.

“I said, ‘Carlos, I am not playing anymore. I am 42, nearly 43!’ – it was December 2009. My birthday is in January. Six months to the World Cup! I said, ‘Carlos, I gave up four years ago. It is impossible’. He said, ‘no, no, you have to come back’. I told him to had been four years without playing as a professional. ‘Ah,’ he said. ‘But I know what you can do …’”

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“My biggest regret in football.”

First published on: 06-12-2022 at 09:34 IST
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