Diego Maradona: Napoli consider renaming stadium San Paolo-Diego Armando Maradona
Napoli are considering renaming their stadium in memory of Diego Maradona after the club legend died aged 60.
Maradona, regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time, forged a strong bond with the Italian club and its supporters during his seven-year spell between 1984 and 1991.
The forward, who inspired Argentina to World Cup glory in 1986, joined Napoli from Barcelona and won their only two Serie A titles – in 1987 and 1990 – along with the Coppa Italia and UEFA Cup.
Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis confirmed following Maradona’s death that the club will discuss renaming their stadium in his honour, combining its current title with his full iconic name.
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“We can consider the idea of calling our stadium San Paolo-Diego Armando Maradona,” De Laurentiis told French sports channel RMC Sport.
Naples Mayor Luigi De Magistris supported the proposal that the city’s San Paolo Stadium be renamed for Maradona, who scored 81 goals in 188 appearances for the club.
“We are already putting it together this morning, taking the first steps to dedicate Naples stadium to Maradona,” De Magistris said.
“Its a process but it will be a quick process, because when there is such a strong desire there’s nothing that will hold us up.”
The Mayor added: “We’re hoping to make it coincide with the resumption of games with fans.”
Fans gathered outside the stadium, which was lit in memory of Maradona’s time at the club, in the southern Italian city on Wednesday evening.
Tributes have poured in from the world of football and beyond, with three days of national mourning underway in Argentina.
Heartbroken fans laid bouquets of flowers near Maradona’s former club, Boca Juniors. Others gathered in the San Andres neighbourhood where he lived and in La Plata, where he had lately been technical director for Gimnasia y Esgrima.
A minute’s silence took place before Wednesday’s Champions League matches and the same will happen before all other European fixtures this week, including Napoli’s Europa League home match with Rijeka.
Pele paid tribute to his fellow all-time great Maradona, saying: “One day, I hope we can play football together in the sky”.
Argentina’s all-time top goalscorer Lionel Messi wrote on Instagram: “A very sad day for all Argentines and football. He leaves us but does not leave, because Diego is eternal. I take all the good moments lived with him and send condolences to all his family and friends. RIP.”
Cristiano Ronaldo tweeted in Portuguese alongside a picture of him and Maradona: “Today I say goodbye to a friend and the world says goodbye to an eternal genius.
Gary Lineker, who was in the England side beaten by Maradona’s Argentina in the 1986 World Cup quarter-final, led the tributes on Twitter, writing: “By some distance the best player of my generation and arguably the greatest of all time.
“After a blessed but troubled life, hopefully he’ll finally find some comfort in the hands of God. #RipDiego.”
Manchester United and England forward Marcus Rashford also posted a message on Twitter, while Jamie Carragher wrote: “I’ll never forget watching Diego Maradona as an 8 yr old at the World Cup in Mexico. Never seen anything like it on that stage since. Sad news.”
“One of the best ever. An unparalleled magician. He leaves too soon, but leaves a legacy without limits and a void that will never be filled. Rest in peace, ace. You will never be forgotten.”
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(c) Sky Sports 2020: Diego Maradona: Napoli consider renaming stadium San Paolo-Diego Armando Maradona