The Naples municipality has officially approved a request by Napoli to rename their stadium – Stadio Diego Armando Maradona – in honor of the greatest player to ever represent the club.
In his seven seasons in Southern Italy, Maradona was the catalyst as Napoli enjoyed the most successful years in their history. He remains an almost beatified figure in a city that was reduced to mourning at the news of his demise, aged 60, on November 25.
Shortly after his passing, Napoli owner, Aurelio de Laurentis put forward a request to rename the club’s Stadio San Paolo in honor of Maradona, and those wishes have now been approved by the city municipality of the city of Naples.
“With a resolution approved today, the stadium was named after Diego Armando Maradona,” said the Naples municipality via a statement.
“The resolution was proposed by Mayor Luigi de Magistris, by the Councillor for Toponymy Alessandre Clemente, and signed by the entire city council, which met is Palazzo San Giacomo.”
“Shortly before the executive committee meeting, the advisory commission for city toponymy had approved the proposal of the Mayor, the Councilor for Toponymy and the city council, naming the San Paolo stadium after Diego Armanda Maradona with the name Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.”
Napoli will play their first game in the newly-named ground when they take on Spain’s Real Sociedad in the Europa League on Thursday in what promises to be an emotional night for the club and its fans.
Despite fans not being allowed back in stadiums, thousands of Napoli fans came out and lit flares on the streets around the city ahead of their Europa League fixtures against Rijeka last week and a similar reaction will likely be the case this Thursday when the first game is played at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.
The decision to rename the stadium at the expense of the previous inspiration which was Saint Paul has not gone down well in some quarters as some members of the clergy expressed their distraught in an open letter which read:
“The Stadio San Paolo should be named after the saint who brought us Jesus.
“With humility, we feel the responsibility to tell you. We all agree on one thing: we don’t want a clean slate. It would be fine to name the Stadium San Paolo-Maradona, like in Milan where there is the San Siro-Meazza.
“It would be the right compromise to save the faith and honour the champion.”