As I discussed in my earlier articleThe Sports Crescendo, it is time for the fotball world cup in South Africa. Just as in 1986 Argentina is the favorite for the gold medal. The post as Coach for the South American team is filled by the legendary player Diego Armando Maradona, according to many so-called experts ranked as the best player of all times. The position as manager was something he announced himself to and of course the Argentinian football association couldn´t say no when such a god of football endevered to acquire this position, no matter if he has formal competences for such a commission or not.
Diego was not long ago chosen on FIFA´s website as the greatest football player of all times. When the International Football Associations own jury picked the Brazilian player Pelé before the Argentinian. Diego did not understand how they could even mention Pelé in connection with himself. It was unacceptable!
During World Cup in USA 1994 Maradona was denied to compete when they found the forbidden fat reducing substance ephedrine in his blood. During the press conference connected to the exposure he was more troubled by how Wada (World Anti-Doping Agency) treated him than by the fact that he had done something wrong. He said that he was hurt by how Wada wanted to ruin for him when he on several levels had made come back.
The press has before South Africa 2010 spent a lot of time guarding and quoting the controversial Argentinian. Quotations of the political incorrect type have been spread by the legend. The public seems to agree that the favorites before the World Cup is coached by a madman. In many of the comments to the articles that discusses Maradona, the readers try to explain his behavior with his earlier use of drugs. Sure this is one of the explanations, but the problem is more profound than that.
During his whole growth as a football player and human beeing he has been treated in a different way than others, of course because of his natural talent for the game football. During the years coaches, team players and opponents have been using different types of superlatives to cheer him. I remember one of the more exaggerated, said by the Rumanian dominating midfielder George Hagi during the World cup 1994. When the comparison with the Argentinian was spoken of by the interwieving reporter it was brushed aside by Hagi when saying “Maradona is descended from heaven”. Statements like that makes me wonder if Maradona has ended world hunger or brought world peace. Maybe he thinks so of himself?
Within symbolic interactionism, which is a central perspective in social psychology, it is spoken about the “self-looking glass”. The expression can be explained by how we see ourselves by reflections in others. With this kind of perspective we suddenly can get more of an understanding for Maradonas behavior, thinking that he has learnt by his surroundings how he should look at himself. So the world of sports has to ask itself if the mentally status of the best football player of all times is a product of our own madness?