Never Forget The Time Left-Wing Hero Diego Maradona Called Out The Pope
"I argued with him because I was in the Vatican and I saw all these golden ceilings and afterwards I heard the Pope say the Church was worried about the welfare of poor kids. Sell your ceiling then amigo!"
Early this morning, the news broke that Diego Maradona, one of the most acclaimed soccer stars in the history of the sport, had passed away. He was only 60.
Maradona is perhaps most famous — or perhaps that should be “infamous” — for the Hand of God incident, in which he won the 1986 FIFA World Cup for his team with an unpenalised handing of the ball.
But that was one small incident in a long and enjoyably chaotic career, one that spawned countless hysterical headlines in the press. He spent his entire career deploying a swagger, technical virtuosity and sense of humour that completely revolutionised how we think of modern athletes.
And that’s not even to mention his activism. Throughout his career, Maradona spoke out against imperialism at every turn, even famously claiming to hate “everything that comes from the United States.” Indeed, way back in 2005, before political celebrities were the norm, the soccer star protested the appearance in Argentina of George W. Bush by wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the phrase “STOP BUSH.”
Tragic news. Legendary Argentine football/soccer player Diego Maradona has died at age 60.
Maradona was a revolutionary and committed anti-imperialist.
He was a friend of Castro and Hugo Chávez (with tattoos of Fidel and Che), and a champion of the poor and oppressed. pic.twitter.com/TxeEQAnUlp
— Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) November 25, 2020
The soccer star, who was a longtime friend of Venezuelan politician Hugo Chávez and other notable leftists, didn’t just save his activism for stunts or photoshoots either. He would speak openly about wealth inequality whenever the opportunity arose, even shirtfronting Pope John Paul.
“I argued with him because I was in the Vatican and I saw all these golden ceilings and afterwards I heard the Pope say the Church was worried about the welfare of poor kids,” Maradona later explained of the incident. “Sell your ceiling then amigo, do something!”
Through his lifetime, such speaking to the power was often ignored under the veil of Maradona’s “difficult” behaviour; he was seen as a troublemaker, not a revolutionary. Now, hopefully, that reputation will change. He wasn’t just some spoiled star sewing chaos wherever he went. He was a true political radical. Bless him for that.