Argentinian tennis star Diego Schwartzman, who shares the first part of his name with departed soccer great Diego Maradona, has opened up on his admiration and avowed devotion to his late friend.
To a question on how many times he has watched Maradona’s wonder goal against Mexico in the 1987 soccer World Cup, Schwartzman promptly replied “at least a 1000 times”.
Diego Schwartzman says he’s watched Maradona’s World Cup goal against Mexico “maybe 1,000 times”
That moment from Argentina’s World Cup campaign took ‘EL Diego’ to the pinnacle of greatness and made him a demigod to his adoring fans back home.
It is also recorded in soccer annals as the ‘Goal of the Century’.
Speaking to the media ahead of his opening ATP Cup encounter against Russian Daniil Medvedev on Tuesday, the ninth-ranked Schwartzman said, “I (was) born in 1992, so I watch (Maradona’s goal) on YouTube. I don’t know, maybe a 1,000 times.”
He revealed that he also keeps hearing the songs that Maradona fans back home wrote and composed to celebrate the “Goal of the Century”.
Schwartzman said he has also heard many stories about that goal, adding that for him, Maradona is one of the best that the world of sports has ever seen and his feats and accomplishments will live through time.
“Maradona was one of the best in the history (of) sports, I think the best”, Schwartzman said, adding that what the soccer god means to Argentina is “too much” and can’t be put in words.
Schwartzman says he exchanged messages with Maradona on WhatsApp
Diego added that he was close to the flawed soccer genius, often exchanging messages on WhatsApp.
“For me, I had a good relation with him, with messages and WhatsApp relation because I didn’t meet him in the last few years,” the Argentine said.
However, he revealed that many of his teammates for the ATP Cup, including Guido Pella, met Maradona when he came to cheer for his country in the Davis Cup.
Schwartzman, who is carrying his country’s hopes in the team event in Brisbane, will be under pressure to get one past the Russian as he has never beaten Medvedev in five head-to-head meetings.
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The Russian, who finished last season with back-to-back elite titles at the Rolex Paris Masters and Nitto ATP Finals, will start as a clear favorite in Tuesday’s tie.