Normally, if you admire a football player, you get their name printed on the back of your shirt.
One or two really dedicated supporters can push the boat out and even get a tattoo as a tribute to their favorite player.
Maradona is one of the best who ever played the game / STAFF / Getty Images
But for a football player, a last name on the back of a replica top or to permanently color oneself was not a big enough tribute, not a big enough gesture.
Diego Maradona got a bigger vessel for the love and adoration of a selection of supporters who felt towards the little Argentine magician.
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Iglesia Maradoniana – the church of Maradona – is a religion founded by three fans of the forward – Hector Campomar, Alejandro Veron and Hernan Amez – 1998 in the city of Rosario in Maradona’s native Argentina.
Maradona’s birthday (October 30) is the churches’ Christmas equivalent. June 22 is the day when Maradona scored two goals against England in the 1986 FIFA World Cup – the second of which is widely considered to be the biggest goal in football history – and this is the Easter of the churches.
The three friends believed that the church would be for 30 to 40 like-minded others who shared their love for the former Naples man.
It now has an estimated 120,000-200,000 registered members from over 130 countries.
“Our religion is football and, like all religions, it must have a god,” Alejandro Veron, a member of the Church, told the Guardian in 2008. “We will never forget the miracles he performed on the pitch and the spirit in which he awoke. We are the fanatics.”
Maradona made millions of people love football because he was an artist and not just his designs but his character and attitude.
– He was so big that we that he was worshiped (Iglesia Maradoniana is a religion). Maradona Church.
RIP the Greatest. pic.twitter.com/H1rt9p94S5
– Laba Laba Master ??? (@Booki_Laba) November 25, 2020
“The reality of the church, contrary to what the majority believes, is that it is not a building; the church is the people, those who are loyal to Maradona,” founder Amez told ESPN 2018. “When we talked about football, it’s different, out of this world, it was always Maradona. “
Iglesia Maradoniana is not a physical church building; it is a traveling collection of affiliation with Maradona. The church travels through Argentina, with a selection of images, statues and ornaments used to worship the World Cup winner. Members complete their baptism by recreating Maradona’s Hand of God goal from the 1986 World Cup.
The church comes complete with its very own 10 commandments:
The ball never gets dirty. Love football above all else. Explain unconditional love for Diego and the beauty of football. Defend the Argentina jersey. Spread the news of Diego’s miracle across the universe. Honor the temples where he played and his holy shirts. Don Do not announce Diego as a member of any individual team. Preach and spread the principles of the Church in Maradona. Make Diego your middle name and name your first son Diego. Do not live alien from reality and do not be useless.
Diego Maradona inspired Argentina to the 1986 World Cup / El Grafico / Getty Images
Do they also have an equivalent to the Lord’s prayer? You bet they do.
“Our DiegoWho is on Earth Holy where is your left footYour magic will come, your goals will be remembered”
Just the balance, the skill and the infectious joy of watching Maradona play football could not only trigger a generation of love affair with the beautiful game, but an entire religion.