Fireworks sounded off, flares lit the night sky and chants of “There is only one Maradona” filled the air in Naples as fans created a scene fitting to the personality their hero.
More than 30 years since Diego Maradona led the city to football glory, fans gathered in front of his most prominent mural — a nine-story portrait in the neighborhood of San Giovanni a Teduccio, painted by local artist Jorit Agoch.
The Argentina legend, who died in his Buenos Aires home at the age of 60 on Wednesday, had reached deity-status to the people of the city that he led to its first two Serie A titles in 1987 and 1990 during his seven-year stint at Napoli.
Napoli fans flocked to Diego Maradona's mural in Naples to remember their club's most iconic player. 💙 pic.twitter.com/o8iQ8knNrB
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) November 25, 2020
Artwork of the football great is frequent around the world, no more so than in the cities that he held his closest ties: his birthplace Beunos Aires and Naples. As news of Maradona’s passing spread around the world, murals paying homage to the midfielder became hotspots in which to pay respect.
People have started a candlelight vigil by a Diego Maradona mural in Naples, Italy. pic.twitter.com/bPMB47cYnE
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) November 25, 2020
Murals have long been a way to re-tell the story of Maradona’s rollercoaster life. Narrow, urban streets around the world are littered with them.
In La Plata, a province in Buenos Aires, Argentina, fans of Gimnasia created a frame-by-frame mural depicting Maradona’s 1986 World Cup quarter-final winner, later labelled the “Goal of the Century.” The Argentinian government has declared a three-day national mourning.
¡Siempre Maradona! ¡Genio! ¡Genio! ¡Genio! Ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta… GOOOOOOL
A mural dedicated to the goal of the century against England in '86
— GOLAZO (@golazoargentino) October 31, 2020
A new mural celebrating Diego Maradona went up in Buenos Aires for his 60th birthday 🎨 pic.twitter.com/FZg3xn51JM
— B/R Football (@brfootball) October 30, 2020
There were Diego Maradona murals everywhere when I visited Buenos Aires, I'm surprised these are the only two pictures I took of them. RIP to the legend who inspired an entire religious movement. pic.twitter.com/UP7MoRuc3v
— dev💫 (@thelogladyknows) November 25, 2020
Remembering the great Maradona murals all around La Boca, Buenos Aires pic.twitter.com/1axAlZ02Hh
— Ramsey Bayati (@ramsbayati) November 25, 2020
From Binnish, Syria to New York City, artists around the world have repeatedly taken to the streets paint the legacy of a global star.
A painter draws a portrait of Maradona on the walls of a destroyed home in Syria.
Diego's legacy will live on across the world. pic.twitter.com/81mlzOLPu5
— Goal (@goal) November 26, 2020
📷| Flowers are placed by a Mural of Maradona
in New York City pic.twitter.com/2LtTRV1O4G
— HQ PHOTOS | 🇦🇷 (@ARG_HQ) November 25, 2020
The upcoming Maradona movie! Amazing mural in Melbourne! pic.twitter.com/hBgPtP3uGr
— Peter Paleologos (@PaleologosPeter) July 13, 2019
Football artist and graphic designer Stephen Gulbis created an unused portrait of Maradona for Asif Kapadia’s 2019 documentary on the midfielder. For Gulbis, Maradona gave artists a chance to reflect his unrivalled love for the beautiful game.
“My inspiration was based on Maradona’s pure joy of playing football,” Gulbis told Voice of London. “He was obviously a genius — I just heard Jurgen Klinsmann describe him as an artist — but it seemed to me he was never happier than when he had a ball at his feet and playing the game he loved.
“My favourite memory of Maradona is that YouTube clip of his pre-match warm up for Napoli [in the 1989 UEFA Cup semifinal], where he’s juggling the ball in rhythm to Life is Life on the PA system.”
Words: Connor O’Halloran | Subbing: William Murray