Diego Maradona he escaped hiding in a hotel Torino when he was a Racing coach in 1995 and went to eat a goat with a family of a working class that he had never seen and who lived on the outskirts of the city of Mendoza.
Diego arrived at the López home, asked to be allowed to eat by hand and broke Gonzalo’s bed in the final passage of the night.
The bed remained like this, broken, for eight years since its owner treasured it as a homemade trophy from the night the former Argentine footballer had visited him at his very home. He still keeps the photos that were taken together with the Boca posters hanging on the wall.
This is the story of one of the many anecdotes that appear from Diego Maradona one year after his death, on November 25, 2020.
Diego Maradona: in 1995 he went to meet a family from Mendoza
The López family had a friend who had played with Maradona in the lower divisions of Argentinos Juniors. Every time I visited, the topic of conversation was football and admiration for Diego.
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When they found out that Maradona was in Mendoza with Racing, this man gathered up his courage, went to see him and told him that they had played together in Argentinos; He told him that there was a boy who was a fan of his in the Alimentation neighborhood of Guaymallén who wanted to meet him.
Diego’s response puzzled him: “I want to go meet him” (At that time, the summer tournaments were held in several cities and the teams played two games in each of the venues, so the stay in each place lasted 3 or 4 days).
Immediately, a lightning dinner began to brew, which was not in anyone’s plans.
This is how Maradona’s visit to the López house was coordinated
Gonzalo had turned 14 a few days ago and the excuse was to celebrate his birthday with his two brothers and a cousin. Estela, the mother, tells excitedly in dialogue with TN what do you remember of the moment when you spoke on the phone with Diego Maradona.
Estela remembers: “When I heard her voice I almost fainted with emotion. I told him that it would be an honor for us to receive him in our house, but that we did not have many comforts, our home was simple and he was used to other types of luxuries ”.
The response from the other side was overwhelming, Diego Maradona only answered: “I already know, that’s why I want to go tonight to visit them”.
It was Diego himself, the dinner guest, who chose the menu. Estela recalls: “I asked him what he wanted to eat and with total confidence, as if we had known each other forever, he told me excitedly: if you give me a choice, I want to eat goat. It was nap time and my husband had just come home from work. We went out quickly to look for the goat and a few hours later we were able to get it ”.
Maradona left the hotel hidden in a Torino and arrived in his truck
Diego Maradona had clashed with journalists a few days before traveling to Mendoza, angered by the latest publications. This increased the demand from the media to be able to speak with him and a guard was mounted at the door of the Aconcagua hotel, a rally site for Racing.
All this commotion of cameras and chroniclers went against Maradona’s wishes to be able to spend some quiet time with the López family.
But as it happened on the court, Maradona transformed anger into mischief and decided elude journalists with a maneuver worthy of an illusionist.
Estela’s brother-in-law arrived at the door of the hotel driving a Torino. He entered the parking lot and after a few minutes Diego appeared, threw himself in the back seat while a collaborator left driving the truck of the Diez. When the tide of flashes swooped down on the vehicle, they got just enough time to get out without raising suspicions.
Several blocks away and only when they made sure that no journalist was following them, they made the change again and Maradona arrived at the López family home driving his own truck.
Dinner time and a request from Diego Maradona: “I want to be a normal human”
Estela gets emotional as she continues with her story: “I was in the kitchen, preparing things to serve dinner and when I heard it I went quickly to the patio. When I saw it I almost died; He hugged me and gave me a bouquet of roses that he had brought me. I can’t explain in words what I felt, I thought my heart was going to jump out of my chest. He radiated something that pierced you ”. Diego had arrived at 10 p.m. at the command of his truck.
The only request that Maradona had made, in the previous one, was that he preferred an intimate, quiet dinner, without many people. “Once he was settled in, he went to the grill where the goat was being roasted and asked if he could eat the leg with his hand and said: I want to be a normal human being because nobody here is going to be taking pictures of me”.
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The night passed between laughter, court songs and anecdotes. Diego, verbose and in a good mood, spoke to the teenagers who were at the table with him. Estela recreates the talk with luxurious details and recites what Maradona told them: “You are going to hear and read many things about me. There are many that are true, but never take me as an example of anything. Just to play ball and have fun on a court, you should take me as an example, but for life your example is your dad. I was stupid and didn’t follow the example of my dad, who was the best man in the world ”.
Diego Maradona threw himself on the bed and broke it
The other protagonist of this story is Gonzalo. A fan of Maradona, he had his room covered with photos that portrayed different moments in the race of the Ten. But the most important is the one that was going to be removed that night.
What do you remember from that night?
I did not eat and hardly moved. What I remember the most is that photo in my room that I have on my cell phone and I carry it everywhere. When the night was over and Diego was about to go He told us that he wanted to take a picture with us. We went to my room where I had posters of him. From the emotion I hugged him so tight that I threw it on the bed and it broke. The bed was 8 years with a brick in one of its legs because he didn’t want anyone to fix it, it had become a museum piece. I loved him long before he came to my house. I dreamed of taking a photo of myself in passing and that he came to eat at my house was something incredible.
Do you still use the bed?
Yes, now she is half old, my son has it in his room. Despite its age, we are never going to throw it away. When I left home at 23, my mother decided to weld the bed. When I found out we had an argument because I wanted it to be broken forever, like a relic. Then I thanked because that made the bed we can continue to use today. I also have saved the padding that was on that day. I keep it under 100 keys.