Diego Maradona said ahead of Wednesday’s Partido por la Paz in Rome: “The Pope invited me. He is a Pontiff who is loved by everyone. He does a good job. I went away from the church, but he was the one who made me have faith again. We need peace nowadays, worldwide. We do not want violence nor so many innocent children to die. I’m afraid for my children. I would like to help more than I already do.
“Therefore I will enter the field on Wednesday and will play like in the 90s.”
Maradona may no longer be able to play like in the 90s but his fiery temperament was still clear to see in a clash with Juan Sebastián Verón as the player’s left the field at half time.
The Partido por La Paz, organised by Pope Francis, took place at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico and while Maradona was perhaps the main attraction, he was joined by a host of iconic stars including Ronaldinho, Franceso Totti and Cafu.
However, in addition to Maradona and Verón, there were plenty more Argentine players on display.
Hernán Crespo headed the white team ahead in the second half and despite Nicolás Burdisso equalising for the blue team, Fernando Cavenaghi struck the winner.
WHITE TEAM: Faryd Mondragón, Vincent Candela, Nicolás Burdisso, Cafú, Aldair, Rodrigo Taddei, Federico Fazio, Diego Maradona, Diego Maradona Jr., Francesco Totti, Angelo Carbone, Cuauhtemoc Blanco, Horacio Erpen, Diego Perotti, Fernando Cavenaghi, Carlos Hermosillo, Bojan Krkic, Antonio Di Natale, Juan Iturbe, Leandro Paredes. Coach: Fabio Capello.
BLUE TEAM: Albano Bizarri, Gianluca Zambrotta, Gonzalo Rodríguez, Rafael Márquez, Eric Abidal, Manolo Sanchís, Robert Pires, Edgard Davis, Juan Sebastián Verón, Gonzalo Verdejo, Rui Costa, Jiayi Shao, Víctor Sánchez, Sergio Conceicao, Felipe Anderson, Claudio López, Ronaldinho, Hernán Crespo, Frederic Kanoute, Julen Guerrero, Ciro Immobile. Coach: Aitor Karanka.