The Municipality of Naples has today (Friday) approved the renaming of Stadio San Paolo in honour of the late Diego Maradona.
The legendary Argentinian footballer died last week at the age of 60, with a campaign immediately starting to rename the stadium in which he helped propel Napoli to two Serie A titles during a memorable seven-year spell from 1984 to 1991.
Mayor of Naples Luigi de Magistris said that the San Paolo should be renamed after Maradona, who also led Argentina to FIFA World Cup glory in 1986. The move required an exemption to a law that stated a street or building can only be renamed after someone after 10 years have passed since their death.
However, this appears to have been bypassed today with Naples city council approving the proposal led by De Magistris and Councillor for Toponymy, Alessandra Clemente. The stadium, which is owned by the city, is now set to be known as Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.
The resolution read: “Maradona embodied the redemption symbol of a team which, in the darkest years, demonstrated that it is possible to get up, win and triumph, while offering a message of hope and beauty to the whole city.
“Through the football victories of the Argentine champion, it was not only the Napoli team that won, but the whole city, which fully identified with him; always on the side of the weakest and the common people.
“Maradona fought the prejudices and discrimination that the Neapolitans were still subjected to inside the stadiums, becoming the idol of the entire city, which also forgave him the weaknesses and frailties of a man who never overshadowed the greatness of a champion.”
Stadio San Paolo opened in 1959 and has a current capacity of 54,000. The stadium was one of the host venues during the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy and staged the semi-final between the host nation and Maradona’s Argentina.