Maradona's winning debut: 10 observations from Dorados de Sinaloa
Editor's Note: This was originally published for ESPN Mexico. Read the original here.
CULIACAN, Mexico -- It was a golden night for Diego Armando Maradona at the Estadio Banorte de Culiacan. In the magical debut of the iconic No. 10 from Argentina as manager of the second-division Dorados de Culiacan, here are 10 behind-the-scene things from a memorable evening in Ascenso MX, as they thrashed Cafetaleros de Tapachula 4-1 on Monday.
1. Maradona's arrival in Sinaloa has triggered Netflix's interest in a potential documentary series, according to club sources. There's a commercial impact to his arrival, too: Not long after Monday night's match, potential sponsors were reportedly calling the club's offices to advertise with the team.
2. The new manager was in a very good mood after his first victory. After the match, Maradona was on ESPN's Futbol Picante set on the pitch and decided to take off his flip-flops, making for a casual interview. He then treated fans to autographs on the way out.
3. Cafetalero players were even stopping Maradona in the stadium tunnel leading toward the dressing rooms. Three Tapachula players intercepted him to ask for his autograph and take selfies. The emotion of the opposing players was evident. Some of them even said they felt like they were meeting their idol.
4. In the clubhouse, Maradona and his coaching staff were heard offering words of encouragement. They prayed, reciting "Our Father." Then his players asked Maradona for selfies while celebrating the win.
5. "Number 10" was full of praise for Hector Miguel Zelada, showing little restraint when greeting his former teammate. Maradona ran into the Argentine goalkeeper, who played for Club America and was a member of Argentina's World Cup-winning team of 1986, in the hotel lobby. They hugged, and the greeting was quick, as Maradona was headed to the stadium.
6. Diego is seemingly "untouchable." The Argentine superstar is spoiled by his coaching staff and lets it be known that he cannot be touched. When someone in the locker room approached and tried to hug him, his coaching staff prevented the person from doing so, claiming Maradona had a shoulder injury.
7. Argentine goalkeeper Luis Islas, formerly of Leon and Toluca, is always seen with Maradona. He goes everywhere with Diego and is practically his shadow.
8. Dorados officials are working to establish a residence in Culiacan for Maradona. The house will be near the stadium and will likely be a modest dwelling, far from the luxuries that someone of his stature is known to enjoy. Maradona has said he wants to stay at Dorados for three years.
9. Diego has a great affection for Jared Borgetti. As soon as he finished his remarks in the postmatch interview, he met the former Mexico national team player with a warm embrace despite telling others not to touch him, cracking jokes and offering good wishes. Borgetti was pleased with the encounter, given the warm nature of Maradona's conversation.
10. In the Dorados news room, reporters applauded when Maradona finished his conference. Maradona said he was surprised by the number of journalists gathered, which included reporters from The Washington Post and L'Equipe, among others.