The story of Maradona in Barca will always leave us a doubt: Why did it last so little? César Luis Menotti, coach who recommended time ago the signing of the Argentine star to the culé team, was the great architect of his march to Napoli.
Menotti has already generated great controversy by leaving Diego Armando Maradona outside the World Argentina 1978. Although the combined albiceleste was champion of that championship, the technician admitted in an interview many years after that he had been wrong. He shouldn't have left the big star out of that date, by then, by Argentinos Juniors.
Precisely at that time, Menotti drew up a report for the FC Barcelona on Maradona. This report said, among other things, the next: “It has prodigious technical qualities, easy dribble always in depth. He has a straight line vision facing the goal, but he knows how to get rid of the ball for the benefit of the best placed teammate. Extraordinary reflexes. Protects the ball very well to play it immediately with great efficiency. His short passes and shots are pure wonder. Prodigious changes of pace”.
The Argentine coach prepared this report after a match between Argentinos Juniors Y Boca Juniors in 1978. Maradona I had 18 years and soon he would become the best footballer on the planet. The Barca, after tough negotiations, got signed by 1.200 million pesetas, just over 7 million dollars of the time. The most expensive signing in history at that time (1982).
Fate united Menotti already Maradona in Can Barça. The Argentine coach came to the club to replace Udo Lattek. The truth is that the results improved and with the new coach the culé team managed to win three titles: Copa del Rey, League Cup and Spanish Super Cup between seasons 1982-1983 Y 1983-1984.
Menotti: “If they want to win the League, they must sell Maradona”
But nevertheless, the big surprise came when the coach asked the club to sell Maradona. Initially, President Nuñez flatly he refused, although other members of the board seemed to be for the work because the star began to generate more than one problem. to get started, Menotti changed the training schedule, that happened to take place in the afternoon, it looks like, because Maradona did not like to train, much less get up early.
This decision caused quite a stir and, Of course, critics. The coach had to deal with it and explain to the press (something I deeply hated). The argument he used was that the games were played in the afternoon and that, so, training should also be in the afternoon for that of ‘the biorhythms”.
While Menotti he defended his great star from outside doors, from the inside, he informed the board that if they wanted to win the League, they should sell to Maradona. Finally, Barcelona did so and transferred his figure to Italian Napoli for 1.400 million pesetas. Again, the most expensive signing in history.
effectively, without Maradona (and without Menotti), Barça managed to win the League eleven years later in the season 1984-1985. While, Maradona began a more than successful journey in Italy where he won, among other titles, two Leagues with Napoli and he became a God for Neapolitan fans.