Napoli have officially renamed their San Paolo home stadium in memory of Diego Maradona after the club legend died aged 60.
Maradona, regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time, forged a strong bond with the Italian club and its supporters during his seven-year spell between 1984 and 1991.
The forward, who led Argentina to World Cup glory in 1986, joined Napoli from Barcelona and won their only two Serie A titles – in 1987 and 1990 – along with the Coppa Italia and UEFA Cup.
The Naples city council confirmed on Friday – nine days on from Maradona’s death – that the stadium has been renamed in his honour as the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium.
“SSC Napoli is delighted about today’s decision by the Naples City Council to rename the Stadio San Paolo in memory of Diego Armando Maradona,” the club said in a statement released on Friday evening.
Naples city mayor Luigi De Magistris and Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis had confirmed last week that the San Paolo would be renamed, but were originally unsure whether the initial name would need to be kept as part of the title, which it ultimately was not.
“I’ve been in talks with local authorities for the past 17 years, I have always asked to buy the stadium and rename it ‘Diego Armando Maradona’,” De Laurentiis told Sky in Italy. “If then, for tradition, we will need to call it both ‘San Paolo’ and ‘Maradona’ so be it.
“It won’t change much, but it’s only right that Maradona has this recognition. Even if we were to build a whole new stadium, I would name it like that.”
“I believe it is right to name the San Paolo after you, so we can keep you with us as a witness of the excellent path this team has taken,” De Laurentiis reiterated in an emotional letter addressed to the late club icon.
“Your years here remain indelible in the memories of the people of Naples – symbolic of a coveted redemption and yearned-for resurrection.”