Gianni di Marzio dies, the talent scout who united Maradona and Napoli

Gianni diMarzio, the coach and talent scout who laid the foundations in 1978 for the signing of the Argentine Diego Armando Maradona for him Naples, which would take place six years later, died this Saturday at the age of 82.

One of Italy’s greatest football pundits, internationally minded and visionary scout, DiMarzio was coach of Catanzaro, Catania Y Naples, in addition to working on attracting talent in the Neapolitan team and the Juventus.

«President Aurelius DeLaurentiis and all the SSC Naples unite in family sorrow DiMarzio for the death of the beloved Gianni, historical and unforgettable coach of the ‘azzurro’ team», was the message with which the Neapolitan team confirmed the death of the talent scout.

He had a very strong bond of reciprocal friendship with Maradona, who repeatedly acknowledged in his interviews how, thanks to the work of DiMarzio, ended up signing for Napoli.

It all originated in 1978, shortly before the Argentina World Cup, when DiMarzio, visiting in South America headhunting, he overheard a taxi driver talking about a young talent from Argentine Juniors that Cesar Luis Menotti had decided not to call for the World Cup.

«We went to the field, I was curious to see him. I was in the stands and after fifteen minutes of the game I called Settimio Aloisio (highest representative of Argentine Juniors) to tell him to get off the lawn. I promised him that if I took him out, we would sign an agreement with him in the same locker room. Naples. He played fifteen minutes, scored three goals, a free kick, dribbles as he knew how to do them, something spectacular», he said. DiMarzio to EFE in a 2020 interview.

«I understood that it was a rare pearl, an incredible jewel 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 recalled.

The signing could not be finalized in 1978 due to the resounding «no» of the then president of the Naples, Corrado Ferlaino, but the relationship between DiMarzio Y Maradona He continued very strong and the Pibe de Oro ended up signing for the southern team in 1984, opening the most glorious page in Neapolitan football history.

The passing of Diego it was hard for DiMarzio, who then recognized EFE that he felt as if «he had lost a son».

Italian football mourns the death of the Neapolitan scout, who dedicated his life to football and leaves an example of professionalism and friendliness that Italy will not forget.