In a statement to Italian newspaper ‘Il Mattino’, Diego Armando Maradona spoke about Napoli’s hosting of Barcelona in the UCL, and his siding with the Italians despite playing for both teams.
He also touched on the subject of Barça superstar Leo Messi, to whom he is constantly compared to.
San Paolo hosts the Napoli-Barcelona duel on Tuesday, and all eyes are set on football legend Diego Armando Maradona.
The Argentine forged his legendary career with the Italians, which is why he admitted he will be supporting Napoli in the clash.
“I’ve given everything for Naples and Naples has given everything for me by showing its love. They were magnificent years for the team and for Argentina. We managed to win the championship, the UEFA Cup and the World Cup,” he recalled.
He thanked Barcelona for bringing him to Europe, but his heart goes out “to Napoli and the Neapolitans”. “Especially in this challenge… The match against Barcelona will be very hard. I hope it will be a surprise and a joy for the people,” said Maradona.
In ‘Il Mattino’, Maradona sent words of encouragement to Leo Messi, whom he coached while at the helm of Argentina’s national team.
“Leo is a great talent, a very good guy, but they want to burden him unfairly. He has to make his career and his life, knowing that he’s the best footballer.
What are the comparisons that have been made for almost 20 years? I have a beautiful memory of him during the national team period, it was fun to see him in training and in the game,” he said. “I hope he doesn’t play a great game though,” said Maradona.
“Barcelona opened a door for me but my story was written in Napoli. My heart is with them. I was in Boca, a great club, when I made it to Europe with Barcelona.
It was a dream for all Argentine football players. I had to face a lot of physical issues while there,” he recalled.