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When Le Figaro met Diego Maradona

Dominique Pagnoud, former major reporter for Le Figaro, had twice interviewed the Argentine legend. Memories of necessarily special encounters.

“I had the chance to meet Diego Maradona, the god of football, in two circumstances. It was both an honor and a happiness. Even though our last meeting left a bitter taste in my throat. It was in May 1990 in Civittavecchia, a small town sixty kilometers north of Rome where Argentina, victorious in the 1986 World Cup, was preparing “he world”. Obviously the interview with the Pibe was essential … I had prepared a few questions because I only had three minutes to question him.

And I started to ask a first question: “Diego, don’t you find regrettable the absence of the France team during this next edition?” The answer of n ° 10 burst, icy: “Is that your first question?” you don’t even start by asking me about my news, I was injured six months ago… ”My clumsiness had made me blush. No matter how much I apologize, I admit that the star had given me a hell of a lesson in journalism.

Four years earlier, in Toulouse, which hosted Naples in the UEFA Cup, the interview had gone better. In 1986, the media visits were less formal than today and I had the chance to go upstairs to the rooms of the Neapolitan players housed in Blagnac. Maradona was sitting on the floor outside her bedroom, her back against the wall. I asked him if I wasn’t bothering him. He replied that he had not eaten yet but he could give me two minutes. And, aiming his facetious gaze at my slightly plump stomach, I understood that perhaps he envied me a little …

Besides, I took the liberty of talking to him about the Roquefort cream which closed my lunch. He hissed in admiration and I continued. With real questions about the first leg where Toulouse suffered but held (1-1) at the San Paoli stadium before qualifying the next day … “

Dominique Pagnoud, major reporter in the sports department of Le Figaro.


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