Diego Maradona after training at the 1986 World Cup. (Michael Lewis/FrontRowSoccer.com Photo)
By Michael Lewis
Today is Diego Maradona’s 60th birthday.
Saying that, I figured I would share this photo I took of him during the 1986 World Cup.
That tournament seemed to have been played centuries ago under rules FIFA and the rest of the known soccer universe would never consider today.
There were no such things as mixed zones – at games and during training.
That photo was taken when a bunch of reporters spoke to the Argentina superstar after training in Mexico City sometime in June 1986.
That picture was taken the old-fashioned way – by those cameras that actually used film.
A little background about the photo:
I was at a computer doing some research at the media center when I began talking with someone sitting next to me. It just happened to be former Canadian international goalkeeper Dick Howard, who was working for the media. During my tenure as a Rochester Lancers’ beat reporter, I had never gotten to see Howard to play because he had been dealt to the Toronto Metros already. But I obviously knew his name and reputation. He was nicknamed Mr. Zero, for his ability to keep clean sheets.
Here is the full photo of Diego Maradona.
Howard said he wasn’t the only ex-Lancer at the World Cup, that midfielder Francisco Escos was there, working as an assistant coach with the Argentine national team. Howard said that Escos using went to a nearby Argentine restaurant for dinner, so I decided to catch up with Pancho. We talked for a while and I brought up the possibility of perhaps interviewing Maradona’s father.
Escos liked the idea and he asked the next day at practice, which I attended.
Unfortunately, Maradona’s father didn’t want to be interviewed by anyone, fearing he would bring his son some bad luck. I was disappointed but I understood.
A day or two later, Maradona scored his famous (or infamous) Hand of God Goal against England.
I wound up taking this photo of the great Maradona. Outside of players parading through the mixed zone, I just don’t think the media could ever get this close to players in 2020.
It’s certainly not a Pulitzer Prize winning photo, but a different one from my collection of soccer photos from back in the day.