Frank Raes: “Maradona was addicted to attention and broke it” |...

Frank Raes: “Maradona was addicted to attention and broke it” |...
Frank Raes: “Maradona was addicted to attention and broke it” |...

In the late 1980s, Frank Raes already made a documentary about Maradona, when the Argentinian was almost at the end of his career. Raes is not surprised that “Fluffy” has died at the age of barely 60.

“He was reported to have come into contact with drugs from an early age at Villa Fiorito in Buenos Aires,” Raes said. “In Naples his addiction got worse. Twenty years ago they said he wouldn’t live long.”

“His heart was still working at 40 or 50 percent. It’s amazing he managed to pull it for so long.”

Frank Raes will always remember Maradona as a “charismatic footballer”. “You can argue about who was the biggest, but he was certainly the most controversial,” says Raes. “There was always something to say about Maradona and we liked that.”

“We can’t imagine how difficult it was to be Maradona. At his wedding in Buenos Aires, he was so embattled that he started fighting with journalists and photographers.”

“That pressure must have been unbelievably great. Maradona was addicted to the attention, but he also broke down. He couldn’t miss the attention.”

Comparing makes no sense, according to Frank Raes, “but for me Maradona is the greatest football player”. “He was so colorful. He was the greatest natural talent. Maradona was not only an acrobat, but he also saw everything.”

“No one has ever mastered a World Cup like Maradona in 1986. He almost won that World Cup for Argentina on his own. The team played for him completely and he dragged the team to the world title.”

“Maradona is still a saint in Argentina and also in Naples. There are still images of him everywhere. As if he is god the father.”

Almost every football fan has seen the images before: a wonderfully casual Diego Maradona dances in 1989 to the tones of “Live is Life”. We owe Frank Raes that the images traveled around the world.

Raes was present at the Olympic Stadium in Munich on April 19, 1989 for the return in the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup between Bayern Munich and Napoli. During the warming up, one man drew all the attention: Maradona. The Argentinian juggled to the tones of Live is life by Opus.

“The TV viewers had not seen those images, because they were images from before the match,” says Raes. “When I returned to Brussels I contacted the German channel ZDF. They sent a cassette and from those 12 minutes I made a montage of about 2’30”.

“Those images were broadcast in Sports Weekend and in a documentary I had made about Maradona. The editing ended up in the Netherlands and then started a trip around Europe. Later that was picked up by YouTube and the video has now reached millions of views. “

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