November 30, 2020
Following a Mexico 86 or Headingley 81 can weigh hard on superstars, which might be why many top coaches come from a lower rung
Burdened by genius: Maradona reminds us how peaking young brings its problems | Vic Marks
The death of Diego Maradona provided another reminder that life is seldom simple for the sporting superstar. Maradona was obviously a footballing genius, whose later life was, by all accounts, chaotic. In 1986, at the age of 26, the brilliance of his feet, his vision and his deception led to Argentina winning the World Cup. It doesn’t get any better than that. And that surely is the problem.
It is not a common problem since it applies only to geniuses. Where do you go after scaling the highest peaks? This came to mind when I was chatting to Ian Botham recently. How could he ever hope to surpass what he achieved in the second half of the summer of 1981 at the age of 25? Geoff Hurst was never going to score another hat-trick in a World Cup final after 1966. How can Ben Stokes ever play a better innings than the one at Headingley in 2019? In the same way, how could Maradona top what he did in Mexico in 1986? I suppose one could also speculate whether Elton John was haunted by the thought that he might never produce a better track than Your Song, which was released in 1970. If so, it did not stop him trying.
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