‘We don’t want Maradona’: Soccer legend gets a mixed welcome in Mexico’s Sinaloa

‘We don’t want Maradona’: Soccer legend gets a mixed welcome in Mexico’s Sinaloa

Diego Maradona celebrates a goal with player Facu Juarez during a match against Cafetaleros in Culiacan, Mexico, on Monday that was Maradona’s first game as coach of second-division Dorados. (Eduardo Verdugo/AP) CULIACAN, Mexico — The president-elect of Mexico, a man capable of convening massive crowds, passed through this coastal city on Monday morning and raised little more than a ripple.

The same afternoon, one of the living legends of major league baseball, Fernando Valenzuela, was left mostly in peace as he ate lunch with other retired ballplayers in the restaurant of the Hotel Lucerna.

The reporters and TV crews who had convened in the hotel lobby were more interested in another new arrival: a 57-year-old, short, paunchy Argentine man with graying stubble and a pronounced limp who had taken up residence in a seventh-floor suite and had hardly been seen for a week.

Diego Armando Maradona , an icon of world soccer, had come to Culiacan, the spiritual home of the Mexican drug trade, to coach Dorados, a second-division professional team that was in 13th place out of 15 teams at the start of week and had no wins in its first six matches.

So much has happened in Maradona’s long post-playing career — drug addictions , weight gains and losses, friendships with leftist dictators , money troubles, an incident involving his middle fingers at the World Cup this summer in Russia — as to almost exhaust the world supply of tabloid ink. And yet, the arrival of Maradona to this obscure […]

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