Interview with Rita Mabel Maradona: “Diego would not only have given the Cup to Messi, he would have traveled hanging from the bus with the team”

Diego Maradona, his sister Kitty, and the image he couldn't see: Messi with the World Cup
Diego Maradona, his sister Kitty, and the image he couldn’t see: Messi with the World Cup

The image is so vivid in your mind that you don’t know if you imagined it or actually saw it. It materialized moments after Lionel Messidressed with the tail that they placed on his back at the start of the award ceremony, will lift the World Cup at the Lusail Stadium in Qatar. “He was Argentine until death. It would have been spectacular, because he would have gone to Qatar and was going to be captivated by the Cup. Diego would have given it to Messi… And later my dad would have made the barbecue for the entire squad ”.

Rita Mabel Maradona, Kitty in the privacy of the family, one of the star’s sisters, laments because the sequence, longed for by all Argentines, desired by Pelusa in each of his cells, did not come to pass. If even Messi himself, in the note with Andy Kusnetzoff, revealed the chapter of the story that was missing for it to finish being perfect: “The image of him handing me the Cup would have been very nice. I think that from above both he Like many people who want what is good for me, I was strong”.

Two months after the feat in Qatar, of the first World Cup without Diego in which, paradoxically, he was present even in the anthem of the rostrum -and the dressing room- the president of Sattvica (the company that manages the rights of the brand) opens his heart with infobae. And it opens the doors to the Maradona that Fiorito never left, whom he watched, with his shoes torn off by balls well stuck to the mud, how the Cosmic Kite rose far beyond his fantasy domains.

-There is no doubt that Diego would have given the Cup to Messi?

-Football and the National Team were everything to him. How could he not give her the Cup? The footballer was sacred to him. He never spoke ill of Messi to us, quite the contrary, he loved him very much. He would have congratulated him and would have given him the Cup. He was him and he will always be him. As they say, comparisons are hateful, I don’t like that they are comparing. Luckily he touched both of them at the time. What Messi did was fabulous. We, who have been close to Diego all our lives, know everything footballers go through, what they suffer, what they fail to do in their lives. I see that human side, the sacrifice. I had to watch the World Cup in Chile, and I saw the fanaticism of my daughter and my eldest granddaughter. They told me: “Mom, how I would have liked uncle, grandmother, grandfather to be there.”

-One of the meeting points for the fans to celebrate the triumphs was the house that belonged to Don Diego and Doña Tota in Villa Devoto. What made you see those images?

-It reminded me of 86. They invited us through my sister Lili, but we didn’t want to go in because of the pain. She gave us nostalgia, it was the patio where the family met. It was strong to see the invasion of people.

-And with the lyrics of the song, “Muchachos”, what happened to you? What was it like to hear that Diego and also Don Diego and Doña Tota were so present?

-The song is wonderful, you hum it unconsciously, when they named it to my old lady… The two soccer players, mom and the grill are present. Actually, I feel them present at all times. On Sunday the five sisters were together and the anecdotes come out alone. They are sorely missed.

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-I also imagine that when you don’t have Diego present, some fan always reminds you of them.

-I traveled to Chile in December and at the airport an employee told me, “let me hold your hand, Maradona is the greatest there is, has ever been and will ever be”. That it is in Chile, a country with which there is a soccer rivalry, is worth even more, although there is a very large Argentine community there, who came together to celebrate the matches or watch them on the giant screen.

Fluff, surrounded by Ana, Mary, Lili, Cali and Rita
Fluff, surrounded by Ana, Mary, Lili, Cali and Rita

-Do you know Messi?

-No. And I would like to meet him, of course. Because the rivalry between Diego and Messi never existed. Because in reality I did not have that mentality of saying “I am the best” in private. But one realizes what he meant. Of course, as a brother, as a son, as a person, he was even better than as a footballer. Sometimes I think that our children, seeing so much attachment, follow that example.

About to turn 70, Kitty boasts that she has almost no great material memories of her brother. There are a couple of treasures in Lili’s hands: a replica of the World Cup and one of the UEFA Cup (now the Europa League) that Pelusa won with Napoli and gave them to her parents. “She was ruined in the fire, but we are going to send her to polish. She has ‘for mom and dad’ written on it,” she details.

“Yes, we have lived for 40 years in La Paternal, where he gave the sisters houses as gifts. You go out the door and it’s there. On the wall, on the Argentinos field. It is God’s land, ”she defines. Although “nothing replaces keeping it in mind.” Above all, those weekends in which Diego practically forced his sisters to visit him. “He didn’t accept that we didn’t go, heh. On Sundays, and sometimes on Saturdays too; we stayed to sleep. And it’s not that we were talking about football, on the contrary. They talked about childhood, mom, dad… With Mary they always laughed at the same anecdote. From when they were little, they were sent to buy and, instead of getting on the train, they spent all the money on candy. They were tempted and did not stop ”, she recalls. “The other day, at the carnival in Corrientes, my granddaughter was asked how she defined Diego. ‘Joy, friendship,’ she said. She moved me, ”she says.

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It’s just that Kitty was never a sports fan. She went through her brother. “Lili, on the other hand, watches soccer or tennis all the time. And my mom… She knew everything about soccer, she knew all the players, I was more than accompanying him, ”she explains.

-And how did you experience the 1986 World Cup?

-Mom had a cabal. She watched the games alone, in her room. And each one of her children had to see him in her house. When she finished, yes, we would get together to celebrate. The whores that she will have thrown alone in those games… Because they couldn’t touch the baby. No one should have been left alive.

Cali, Lili, Ana, Rita and Mary, along with Diego
Cali, Lili, Ana, Rita and Mary, along with Diego

-You said that Diego would have given the Cup to Messi. And how would he have reacted at the festivities, with so many people on the street and the bus that he couldn’t move?

-He would have been above the bus, or hanging. He came back on the plane with the players, everything, hehe.

Do you feel it present?

-Every day. Every day I thank you because we are alive, because we are well. Him, mom, dad, the Turk (Hugo, who died in 2022). We have our little angels.

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