Diego Maradona is surrounded by volleyball players who watch him play with the ball. He sleeps it on his left and then pulls it up. Now it is time to dominate it with the head. The ball stays still, as if asleep. Ten puts her down and smiles. Later he approaches the net, receives the pass from the first player and, with his shoulder, leaves the perfect ball for him to finish. Follow another. Now, Diego arms with his left thigh and he does it better than the first time. He pretends to leave, but there is room for a third party who decides to assist him with his head. Fluff laughs as the players greet him. Those images of 1995 went viral after the death of the maximum idol, but behind them there is a much more significant story.
The friendship between El Diez and the players of the Argentine National Team that won gold at the Pan American Games in Mar Del Plata, composed of Javier Weber, Guillermo Quaini, Fernando Borrero and Marcos Milinkovic, among others, started in ’95. The national team, as usual, trained at CENARD, and Diego did the same after having tested positive for drug testing during the 1994 World Cup in the United States. The days shared at the training center gave birth to that relationship. “We saw him every day, we met a lot and we struck up a great relationship. We had a daily deal, we even played a miniature with him, the doctors and kinesiologists, against us “, remembers Quaini in dialogue with TyCSports.com.
Despite the historic achievement, Argentine volleyball was experiencing great uncertainty due to the confrontation between the Metropolitan Federation and the Argentine Confederation. The latter was dissolved that year and the Argentine Volleyball Federation was founded. Due to this situation, the Argentine Volleyball Associated Players union decided to organize a friendly match, the All-Star Game.
The event was held at the Héctor Etchart of the Club Ferro Carril Oeste in which the best volleyball players who were playing in Argentina at that time participated. But before the game, they came up with an idea: invite Maradona. Those in charge of telling Ten about the proposal were Quaini, Weber and Borrero. “Diego was not involved in the matter and we decided to go talk to him. Between the three of us we tried to make an introduction, tell him the problem and he listened and said yes“Quaini recounts as he relives the moment.
This is how, finally, it was agreed that Diego would be in the stadium as a spectator of the match. There he arrived with Claudia Villafañe, his wife, to whom the players gave a bouquet of flowers, their daughters Dalma and Ginaninna, and Guillermo Cóppola. But the presence of the Ten was not only limited to watching from the rostrum. “I would cheer myself up, I told them that I will lift some ball around”, Pelusa confessed to TyC Sports that day. Then He went down to the court and showed his quality with his feet. “What you see in the video is part of what he did. He greeted everyone, one by one. There were some Russian players who couldn’t believe Maradona was there. Then he began to arm us with blows from above and at one point, which I attacked, he lowered his hands and began to arm with his shoulder, head and knee. He put all the perfect balls. A phenomenon wherever you look at it. He was predisposed, a phenomenal guy “, acota Quaini.
Maradona’s gesture was one of the many he had throughout his life in which he always supported athletes of different disciplines, from rugby to volleyball. The story behind Maradona’s viral video reflects the solidarity he had for others. For Argentine volleyball his presence was so important that time that Quaini still remembers exactly the words of the Ten when they suggested that he accompany them at the event: “Stop it guys, where do I have to jump from?”.
Thanks: Martín De Rose and JuAVA
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