DescriptionLate 1980's Diego Maradona Game Worn S.S.C. Napoli Jersey & Signed Pennant. There is perhaps no foreign-born athlete more beloved in the nation of Italy than this man, a player who shares co-ownership of FIFA's "Player of the Twentieth Century" honors with Pelé. The fortunes of this illustrious football club literally rose and fell along with the Argentinian superstar, Napoli claiming their only Serie A Italian Championships in 1986-87 and 1989-90, and the Coppa Italia in 1987. But scandal ultimately drove this elite striker from his pedestal, with allegations of heavy cocaine usage and ties to underworld crime, along with paternity of an illegitimate son. After serving a fifteen-month ban for a positive drug test, Maradona left Napoli in 1992 in disgrace, the team never again mounting a significant challenge for the title, and suffering the indignity of relegation to Serie B with a three-victory season in 1997-98.
But two decades after his departure, Maradona would return to the city that had never again approached the heights it had enjoyed during his service, drawing legions of supporters to his balcony matched only by those found beneath the Pope at the Vatican. "I wanted to come back to Italy with my grandson to watch Napoli," he explained to Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport. "I want him to see what his grandfather did here."
Millions have never forgotten, and to most of the sports-loving world, the presented jersey outshines any artifact ever presented in the history of Heritage Sports Collectibles. The garment exhibits solid wear from the height of Diego Maradona's professional career, a time when the deft and diminutive soccer magician was the most famous athlete on the planet. "Mars" advertising adorns the chest beneath a pair of patches representing Napoli and Italian clothing designer "NR." The fabled number "10," properly retired by the team, appears on reverse. An included large photograph removed from a sporting magazine pictures Maradona wearing either this jersey or an identical model.
Closing out the contents of this lot are a jersey and a pennant, each autographed by the entire Napoli team in 9+/10 black marker, including, of course, Maradona himself. LOA from Heritage Auctions.
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