EbeneMagazine – CA – Magical Day: A memorable Canadian one-off with the mighty Maradona

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It’s a piece that football coach Peter Pinizzotto still has in mind, even though it happened almost 25 years ago.

Argentinian star Diego Maradona, who played one-time with brother Lalo in an exhibition game for Pinizzotto’s Toronto Italia team, put the ball on the grass for a corner at Birchmount Stadium.

He used that famous left foot to roll the ball into the net for the winning goal.

« He scored after a corner kick and celebrated like he was a little kid, » Pinizzotto recalled on Wednesday after it was revealed that Maradona had died at the age of 60.

A person near Maradona told The Associated Press that he died of a heart attack on Wednesday. Maradona was released from a hospital in Buenos Aires two weeks earlier after undergoing brain surgery.

The legendary midfielder led his country to a World Cup title in 1986 and is considered one of the greats in the sport. As a junior star in Argentina in the mid-1970s, he later played for Barcelona, ​​Napoli and Sevilla, before retiring in 1997 after returning home for three years at Boca Juniors.

Maradona was well past its prime when he came to the Ontario capital in September 1996 to visit his brother, who had spent several seasons with Toronto Italia in the defunct Canadian National Soccer League (CNSL). .

Team owner Pasquale Fioccola suggested to Lalo that his brother might want to get dressed for the exhibition game against the CNSL Allstars.

With Diego on board and the necessary hurdles, no. 10 ended up trotting on the modest square – around 6. 000 spectators packed the stands – in the colors of Toronto Italia.

« It was amazing, » said Fioccola from Toronto. « I still don’t believe I let Maradona play for my team. ”

For a player who shone in front of a large audience on the sport’s greatest stages, this lower tier show was a little different. Still, Maradona was passionate and full of energy on game day and made sure he warmed up properly and the team was motivated, said Pinizzotto.

« He was friendly. He didn’t play a show-off, ”said Fioccola. “He was normal, kind to everyone. He shook hands with everyone and would give [an autograph] when someone asked. ”

Maradona came out as a substitute with a few minutes of playing time, mainly so as not to crush the fans at the end of the game.

« I remember all of our players getting so excited, » said Pinizzotto of Woodbridge, Ont. “They all wanted to be part of being in the field with him. He wasn’t what he was when he was a few years younger, but you could tell he still had magic.

« So that he could score from the corner, he still had his left foot, which was like magic. ”

Fioccola said Maradona, who grew up in a poor area near Buenos Aires, told him he had no proper shoes when he first learned to play and that he would kick a small stone instead of a ball.

« He got the best because he played with his heart, » he said. « One thing I have to say about Diego, when he was in a uniform he was playing for the uniform he was wearing. He didn’t just play for money. He gave his heart when he played. ”

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If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters @ globeandmail. com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is an area where subscribers can connect with each other and with Globe employees.

Diego Maradona, Canada, Boca Juniors, S. . S.. . C.. . Napoli, Peter Pinizzotto

EbeneMagazine – CA – Magical day: A memorable Canadian one-off with the mighty Maradona
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Magical Day: A Memorable One Canadian unique with the mighty Maradona
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Ref: https://www.theglobeandmail.com

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