So, maybe you guys have heard about the somewhat far-fetched rumor floating around the web that the legend, Diego Maradona, is set to step out of retirement at the age of 53. Pretty crazy, right?
Although the idea of seeing this happen would be pretty awesome, it is highly unlikely to happen and is more likely to be a publicity stunt created by Chinese whispers around the streets of Argentine minnows Deportivo Riestra.
The original story, via the
very accurate Mirror newspaper goes like this:
Diego Maradona is poised for a sensational return to football with Argentine minnows Deportivo Riestra.
The tiny club plays in the regionalised fifth tier of domestic football in Argentina but the World Cup winner isn’t put off, and is expected to make his debut on March 23.
So much interest is expected in the return of the man often referred to in his homeland simply as ‘God’, that Riestra are planning to abandon their 3,000 capacity stadium in favour of the nearby home of top-flight champions San Lorenzo.
The 53-year-old has been convinced to sign for the club by friend and legal representative Victor Stinfale, the financier of the lowly Buenos Aires side.
Maradona made the news when he was briefly appointed Riestra’s ‘Spiritual Coach’ in August 2013, and reports this week state that when he was asked to return to the dugout he replied simply, “I want to play.”
The Albinegro have now presented an official request to the Argentine FA that Maradona be allowed to join the squad, and club insiders have told Olé that they are confident that the paperwork will be completed without a hitch.
“Within five gameweeks, Maradona will be playing for Riestra,” revealed the source. “He will debut on approximately the 23rd of March.”
If indeed The King is coming back, even in the Argentinian Primera D (fifth tier), we do need to look at the very important question of what boots is he going to be wearing? The instant choice would be the Puma King as they are effectively named for him! But I don’t think that’ll be the case given that the King’s have transformed from “Maradona’s boot” to something a bit less magisterial (to quote Ray Hudson) over the past few renditions.
Here is our “for fun” take on what he will and will not wear on his return.
– Ruled Out –
Nike Vapor IX
As much as the modern day perfected speed boot would suit Maradona’s scale tipping frame, it is unlikely that he would choose something worn by one Cristiano Ronaldo. To the world it would represent a nod to CR over Messi, and we just can’t have that happening. The latest Vapor is a spectacular boot nonetheless, and Nike continue to push advertise them as the boot with “Explosive Speed“.
Pele Trinity 3E
Maradona most certainly won’t be choosing the boot labelled with the name of the other best player to ever have played the game. Would the founder of Pepsi choose to put Coca-Cola in his Cuba Libre? Definitely not in public, that is for sure! In fact, if Pele himself was making a dramatic comeback, he definitely wouldn’t wear these either. The futuristic tri-stud heel configuration might just be too complex and I’m sure Maradona would want something that comes with a more traditional 2 or 4 stud configuration (for safety’s sake!)
Adidas F50 adiZero
As much as I am sure Maradona would love to wear a pair, they are just not his style. With Messi’s name all over the boot, it would clash with the revival of the soon-to-be, re-invigorated Maradona brand. There is a possibility he might test out a blackout pair in an effort to see what the hype is all about, but they wouldn’t cut it in game for the 53 year old.
Here is a boot that just doesn’t offer the performance that Maradona would need. I get that they are a control boot, but anyone that has seen videos of Maradona lately will know he still has that magical Midas touch and he needs less plastic material and more natural feel. Have you seen the videos of him toe-tapping a golf ball?
Adidas Copa Mundial
The Copa is a boot that many would consider a top option, but I just can’t see him taking hold of an older model boot in a comeback game. Yes, they are comfortable and very traditional, but we are talking Maradona here, a guy that needs to be big, brash and in touch with the modern game. Even with continued sales and a solid reputation, the Copa is starting to lose touch with current day players. As more seasoned veterans hang up their boots, sales will start dropping fast.
– On the Cusp –
We are getting closer with this one as they hold a cool heritage appearance with modern performance. A big plus is the light weight nature of the boot, but again I don’t see these being bold enough. When you compare these to the Copa, Nike has a sharp advantage in the fact that these boots connect with younger players who want something a little less in-your-face. Plus, the price of the Premier is substantially lower. Even so, Maradona will be looking for more color, and something that performs with an full-time attacking player in mind.
I like the agility factor in this one and the complimentary style of the boot to what Maradona brings. They have a great configuration, the honeycomb panel upper provides deft touch and the overall fit is spacious enough to ensure no comfort issues from first wear. Then again, I might just be thinking of the Maradona from the 80’s and early 90’s and not the 53 year old about to make his comeback after 20 years out! There might be a slight disconnect. And of course, with Pele ruling Neymar to be the best player in the world, it might prove a deterrent to the Argentinian.
Adidas adiPure 11Pro
Here is another boot that features the style, finesse and performance that would suit an ageing Maradona. They are super comfortable and have that great crossed stitch forefoot to provide the perfect surface for deft touches as he whizzes by…..wait, there might be more wheezing than whizzing if we are being honest. A definite boot for consideration.
Puma King 2013
Through his career, Maradona wore Puma boots and the King was a particular favorite, we even had a special edition Diego King Finale created and released by Puma for him a few years back. These are a definite maybe, but they might just be a little too bland for such a humongous return game unless he was to take out a pair of the King Diego. The more I think about it, the more it makes sense although I am sure Puma would pay to see him wear something more modern and that they can actually sell right now. Major payday maybe?
– We Think He Will Wear –
Bryan’s Choice: Puma evoPOWER 1
Yes, the maestro will stick with the Puma brand and in my opinion he will choose their latest power boot, built with the intent of serving attacking styled players. While coaching Argentina at the World Cup in 2010, he chose to wear the Puma PowerCat in training sessions, so he has an affinity for the technology provided in Puma’s power silos. The evoPOWER is a great release, with the overall lightweight feel and solid stud configuration offering him a more dynamic pace on take-off. Speed will definitely be part of his choice. Then there is the added padding across the strikezone of the boot that will prove useful when defenders crush him in an attempt to get their name splashed across the worldwide-web. Plus, it might actually prove useful if he is able to beat the last man and strike a few shots on frame.
Richard’s Choice: Nike Tiempo Legend V
Honestly the closest thing (materials wise) which resembles the customized Puma King’s that Diego wore in his pomp are the new Nike Tiempo Legend V. Nike markets them with the tagline of “The Lightest Touch” and of course Diego was known for caressing the football during his playing days. This wouldn’t even be the first time that he’s sported a pair of Tiempo’s on the pitch, way back in 2006 when he took part in the Soccer Aid Pro-Am charity match he wore a pair of Tiempo’s (and didn’t even bother to tie the laces in classic Diego style) while dragging ex-England Internationals and celebrities all over Old Trafford despite barely moving.
In order to make our choices a little more competitive, Richard and I have bet that if one of us guesses the correct answer, the loser has to shave their head. What worries me is the fact that Richard has already shaven his head and that leads me to believe he has some sort of inside track on this one! The odds are on us never finding out the correct answer, but at least we have somewhat attempted to solve the puzzle of what boots the legend would wear.
What is your take on the rumored return of Maradona? And what boots could you see him wearing?