After Maradona’s last major health crisis, he pulled himself together, shed the addictions, lost the weight and made a notable public comeback worthy only of El Diez himself. Not long before, he had been shown on television using two walking canes to support the weight of almost two Maradonas.
Months later he was looking as good as the Diego who celebrated a goal against Greece in the face of a USA 94 cameraman. The best Maradona of many years became so remarkable he hosted his own talk show La noche del 10. Pelé was his first guest. The two football legends chatted and made amends over their consistent bickering to be the best in the in the history of the game. The treaty lasted – a little while.
By the end of the season – the TV season – Maradona had interviewed anyone who was anyone in his world, including argentine folksinger Mercedes Sosa, Mike Tyson, a number of Mexican television stars, Robbie Williams and even Fidel Castro. Maradona had interviewed everyone but Maradona.
Until the last episode.
Diego sat across the table from himself having a casual chat. There were two of him on screen – without the help of walking sticks, each Maradona in his own chair. This man has awed the world many times with impossible tricks and impossible comebacks. As a spectator you could only wonder where was The Hand of God in this new stunt? (And which one of these really coached Argentina in 2010.)
A few days later it was revealed that Maradona has a double named Escolástico Umberto Méndez who has been representing Diego for a long time. Casually found in Buenos Aires for photo opportunities, he has also stood in for the argentine legend in commercials, films and in bedazzling television stunts.
A third Maradona, Eduardo Anacleto Paz, became famous during the last World Cup, for his striking resemblance to Diego, but has since passed away.
Words by Ben de Buen.