Italy venue to be named after icon Maradona

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Napoli San Paolo re-named to Maradona Stadium Image: ANSA & Ciro Fusco

Italian Serie A football team Napoli is considering naming its stadium after club legend Diego Maradona.

Football icon Maradona died on Wednesday at the age of 60 after suffering a cardiorespiratory arrest. Diego Armando Maradona was an Argentine professional football player and manager. Widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, he was one of the two joint winners of the FIFA Player of the 20th Century Award.

On Wednesday night, the lights at Napoli’s residence Stadio San Paolo in Naples, Italy, remained on as a mark of respect to Maradona as Naples mourned the man who delivered the club two Serie A titles during a memorable seven-year spell from 1984 to 1991.

Società Sportiva Calcio Napoli, commonly referred to as Napoli, is an Italian professional football club based in Naples, Campania (Italy) that plays in Serie A, the top flight of Italian football.

Mayor of Naples Luigi de Magistris tweeted on Wednesday that the San Paolo should be renamed after Maradona, who also led Argentina to FIFA
World Cup™ glory in 1986. The move would require an exemption to a law that states a street or building can only be renamed after someone after 10 years have passed since his or her death.

Napoli President Aurelio de Laurentis has said that the renaming of the stadium will be considered. Posting on her Facebook page on Wednesday, Laura Bismuto, President, Toponomy Commission of the Naples City Council, said that steps are being initiated to carry out the name change.

Remarked Bismuto, “As President of the Toponymy Commission, I have the pleasure and honor to announce to the City that, in consultation with the Mayor and the Councilor for Toponymy Alessandra Clemente, having heard the case for the derogation from the 10-year rule, we decided to name the stadium of the City of Naples after Diego Armando Maradona.”

Bismuto added that a commission will be called on Monday to formalize the proposal.

Stadio San Paolo opened in 1959 and boasts current capacity of 54,000. The stadium was one of the host venues during the 1990 FIFA World Cup™ in Italy and staged the semi-final between the host nation and Maradona’s Argentina.

Maradona was pronounced dead at the property near to where one of his two daughters with ex-wife Claudia Villafane lives. Maradona underwent surgery earlier this month to remove a blood clot from his brain. Although the surgery was successful, Maradona was reportedly suffering due to withdrawal from his alcohol addiction.

Argentina President Alberto Fernández has declared three days of national mourning following Maradona’s passing, while wreaths and candles were placed outside the San Paolo on Wednesday as fans paid tribute.

Present and former footballers all over the globe began paying tribute on social media after hearing the sad news of Maradona’s demise. The former English professional footballer and current sports broadcaster Gary Lineker led tributes.

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