Before the second meeting, Maradona hesitated to the press with a possible exit (he made a joke with the sponsor of the club Mars and ‘Marseille’) while Tapie harassed Ferlaino by phone to sell him to Maradona. “It drives me crazy. I called the Italian Federation to call UEFA, and the French Federation to calm Tapie down.” stated publicly the president of Naples. The second meeting was in Milan. Marseille went with everything. Maradona asked them the same salary as in Naples and Hidalgo promised that Tapie would give him double (€ 600,000 a month) and all his whims he asked for: a villa in an exclusive area, a garage for all his cars and even private security. Maradona looked strong and hesitated. “He threw the keys to the car at me and said” Will you come to get my Ferraris? “Tapie and I would have crawled on all fours if he had asked us to,” said Hidalgo in L’Equipe.With Maradona everything was fine but Ferlaino ended the story. “Maradona will stay in Naples as long as I want him to stay in Naples,” he said in this French newspaper, and Maradona never changed the ‘azzurro’ for the white and blue of the French team.Success for bothThe paths of Maradona and OM did not cross but both were successful. Diego won his second Scudetto with Napoli in 89/90 and Marseille became European champion in 93, before being relegated to the Second Division for arranging the pre-final match with Valenciennes so that they would not injure any player before the final. In 91, Maradona left Naples and in 95, Tapie left the OM, just when Diego returned to Boca. Diego Armando Maradona was able to leave Naples before 1991. In the late spring of 1989, Agent Michel Basilevich called the office of the recently deceased Michel Hidalgo, then sports director of Olympique de Marseille, to offer to sign 10. Hidalgo did not believe it, but the intermediary insisted and called Bernard Tapie, then owner of the Marseille, to tell him about it. Maradona, they assure, wanted to meet him.Tapie, a controversial character in France who has been a singer, actor, businessman, owner of Marseille and even a deputy and MEP associated with the left, was not encouraged. Basilevich bit him by calling L’Equipe to tell the whole story that this newspaper collects these days in chronological order.After a cover of this newspaper assuring that Maradona could land in Marseille, everything started. The first fear they had in Marseille, a city with a reputation for being dangerous, was the Neapolitan mafia. The good relationship between Maradona and Carmine Giuliano, a member of the Camorra, was known and that someone wanted to take Diego, who generated uncontrolled love between the Partenopeos, they believed that it could cause a rather difficult situation for them. Thus, confirmed his personal safety by an Italian contact that was never revealed, Hidalgo went to Italy with a premise: offer him whatever it was to Maradona.Negotiate with DiegoHidalgo arrived at Diego’s house ready to meet but on the 10th, according to L’Equipe, he had other chores and had the sports director waiting for hours while taking a photo session with his newborn daughter to sell it for solidarity purposes. “He came with us for about five minutes and left for an hour,” they say. When the session ended, they sat down to negotiate and Maradona was only interested in one thing: living well. “House, sea and pool, eh, Mr. Hidalgo?”, They assure that he answered. Maradona asked for player references and said he did not know any. Nor did he care. Naples loved him but he felt shut up. After the Camorra, the second fear of the people of Marseilles was Ferlaino, president of Nápoles and “owner of Maradona”. Diego assured that he would convince him to leave.
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