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”HE FLOWED LIKE MERCURY TOWARDS THE ENEMY GOAL”

January 10, 2013

At the Supreme Soviet of 2 July 1985 Andrei Gromyko was elected Chairman of the Presidium, that is President of the USSR.
In his ”Memories” issued four years later Andrei Gromyko talks mostly about other statesmen and politicians of his time.
However, in this interesting, highly condensed and very nutritional portrait of his epoch Andrei Gromyko dedicates chapter 18 to “Diplomats and others”.
One of these “others” is Argentinian soccer player Diego Maradona.
Firstly Andrei Gromyko confesses to his reader that he has never been a sport addict, but neither has he been indifferent to sport.
Then, to pages later, in this book that was issued in 1989, the former president of the USSR starts talking about Diego Maradona.
“During a World Cup not so long ago, the name of Diego Maradona was frequently heard on air. I don’t claim to know very much about soccer – I’ve watched it occasionally on television – but what I saw when Argentina played England in Mexico simply captivated me. Maradona was the inimitable personification of skill. Watching him get past barriers of strapping defenders and then scoring was to see a real artist at work. By the laws of gravity there were times when it seemed he must fall, yet he didn’t. The powerful legs of the swarthy, tough young athlete kept him up, as he flowed like mercury towards the enemy goal. At times, his inspired face would appear on the screen and it looked almost as if he was in some kind of ecstasy, though never losing his composure – a rare combination!
The press reported that it appeared Maradona had beaten England by a hand-ball, and he was widely criticised for not admitting that he had committed a foul. But I think it unreasonable to expect a player to judge himself when the game has been played at such a high pitch of emotion, when he is playing at the very limit of his psychological and physical strength and can easily forget himself. If there was a foul, it was England that suffered, but that was the referee’s fault and not Maradona’s. Although I could sympathise with the England players, I could not condemn Maradona.”

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