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Maradona Once Upon A Time In Naples (2018 Edition) By John Ludden

Release date: 04th May, 2018
Publisher: CreateSpace

List Price: £14.99
Our Price: £11.99
You Save: £3 (20%)
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Diego Armando Maradona needs no introduction. A poor boy from a Buenos Aires shanty town, his genius with a ball propelled him to the heights of world football, though his struggles with the pressures his astonishing life created pulled him back down again.

The bullet-shaped individual with a low centre of gravity and astonishing ball control first came to the notice of most European football fans around 1982 when he played in the World Cup and moved to Barcelona. Naples were interested in signing him three years’ earlier, when he was still playing for Argentinos, persuading him to spend ten days in the southern Italian city and showering him with gifts, but the move to Italy would not be completed until 1984.

John Ludden’s classic covers perhaps Maradona’s most productive period as a footballer, ie the seven years he spent at Naples, in a warts-and-all tale of outrageous skill, widespread corruption, deity-like acclaim and an overwhelming desire to claim a prize, the scudetto, which had evaded SSC Napoli for six decades.

Maradona actually threatened to leave Naples in 1987 when Silvio Berlusconi, AC Milan’s owner, offered to double his pay, a luxury apartment, any car of his choice and a five-year contract with the Italian’s communications company. This news was ‘leaked’ to the press and Naples came quickly to the negotiating table, paying Maradona $5 million a year until 1993, plus annual merchandising income of $2 million. Bear in mind, this was more than thirty years ago.

The guaranteed income not only fuelled a gargantuan cocaine habit, for a while, it made Maradona feel he was untouchable. He mixed openly with the city’s most feared and notorious gangsters, the Camorra, was courted by politicians of every hue and could name his price whenever a corporate client required his endorsement.

Yet the lifestyle was only sustainable provided Maradona produced the goods on the football pitch. For several years, he did, but as the press release accompanying this book reminds us, the Argentine’s story is reminiscent of “Scarface in football boots”. No wonder John Ludden’s text provided the basis for the film of Maradona’s life: Once Upon A Time In Naples.


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