Photo: Familia Di Marzio / EFE
Gianni Di Marzio, the coach and talent scout who laid the foundations in 1978 for the signing of the Argentine Diego Armando Maradona for Napoli, which would materialize six years later, He passed away this Saturday at the age of 82.
One of Italy’s greatest soccer experts, internationally minded and visionary scout, Of Marzio was coach of Catanzaro, Catania and Naples, in addition to working on recruiting talent in the Neapolitan team and Juventus.
“President Aurelio De Laurentiis and the entire SSC Napoli come together in the pain of the Di Marzi familyor for the death of dear Gianni, historic and unforgettable coach of the Azzurro team”, was the message with which the Neapolitan team confirmed the death of the talent scout.
had a very strong bond of reciprocal friendship with Maradona, who repeatedly acknowledged in his interviews how, thanks to Di Marzio’s work, He ended up signing for Napoli.
It all originated in 1978, shortly before of the World Cup in Argentina, when Di Marzio, visiting South America to scout talent, heard a taxi driver talk about a young talent from Argentinos Juniors who Cesar Luis Menotti had decided not summon for the World Cup.
“We went to the countryside, I was curious to see it. I was in the stands and, after 15 minutes of the game, I called Septimius Aloisio (maximum president of Argentinos Juniors) for tell him to get off the lawn. I promised him that if I took him out, we would sign in the same locker room an agreement with Napoli. played 15 minutes scored three goals, a free kick, dribbling how he knew how to make them, something spectacular,” Di Marzio told EFE in a 2020 interview.
“I understood that it was a rare pearl, an amazing gem that just needed to be forged. Also when I returned to Naples I sent him a number 10 jersey, as well as other gifts for him and his family”, he remembered.
The signing could not be finalized in 1978 before the resounding “no” of the then president of Naples, Corrado Ferlaino; but the relationship between DiMarzio and Maradona went on very strong. The Pibe de Oro ended up signing for the southern team in 1984, opening the most glorious page of the Neapolitan football history.
The Diego’s death was hard for Di Marzio, who then admitted to EFE that he felt as if he had lost a son. Italian football mourns the death of the Neapolitan talent scout, who dedicated his life to football and that leaves an example of professionalism and sympathy that Italy will not forget.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.