Tuesday 16 July 2019

Diego Maradona review: A balanced picture of the great footballer's career and life from Asif Kapadia

4 stars

Villain: for decades, the British press characterised Diego as a duplicitous cheat
Villain: for decades, the British press characterised Diego as a duplicitous cheat
Paul Whitington

Paul Whitington

Diego Maradona tends to be judged harshly in these parts, derided as a cheat by the English, lampooned as a lowlife by the Italians.

But Asif Kapadia’s evocative documentary uses period footage and thoughtful voiceovers to give us a more balanced picture of the great footballer’s career and life.

Born and raised in a muddy Buenos Aires shantytown, he fought his way up from the gutter and endured racial abuse when he came to Europe because of his Native American heritage.

He was the first real footballing superstar, the first to earn mega money and endure life in the full glare of the international spotlight.

At Barcelona he was unhappy, but at Napoli he came into his own, lifting the lowly club out of the relegation zone and almost single-handedly winning them two Serie A titles, a Copa Italia and the UEFA Cup.

But his fondness for cocaine led him into the arms of the Camorra, and a career-destroying scandal. He was and remains a troubled man, but one can’t help feeling a certain sympathy for him.

(15A, 130mins)

Read more: The rise and fall of Diego Maradona - new doc constructs compelling account of Argentine star

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