David Preece: Maradona is a football addict just like the rest of us enthralled with World Cup

We stand in a moment of history where our nation has never been more divided. The division has torn through more families than the miners strikes of the 80s and caused more social unrest than the civil war of the 17th century.

Thursday, 28th June 2018, 2:00 pm
Maradona during Argentina's win over Nigeria. (Photo: BBC).

No, I’m not talking about Brexit, I’m talking about the two sides of country separated in their opinion about Maradona’s antics as he watched Lionel Messi breathe life back in to Argentina’s World Cup hopes.

There’s the half of the country who think the world’s greatest number 10 is a disgrace because of his behaviour, and there’s the other half who celebrate him as a deity, as a demigod who has simply overindulged. Of his overindulgence, there can be no question. The only debate to be had there is what it is exactly he’s been indulging in.

SAFC coverage in association with John Hogg Fwd: Hogg

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Whatever you think about Maradona, he clearly has enjoyed his life to excess and let’s be honest, he should be dead by now. So if you look at it that way, he deserves the admiration of us all.

Who’s to say we wouldn’t have celebrated Messi’s goal in the same fashion, after being in the presence of and witnessing greatness from Argentina’s current incumbent of the number 10 shirt.

That control with the thigh followed by a touch so deft, the ball didn’t even realise Messi’s foot had come in contact with it, didn’t even need the finish to be lauded but being Messi, he made the near impossible look as mundane to him as popping to the shops for milk.

I still can’t get over how he did all that whilst moving forward at pace with a defender hunting him down, developed by 50,000 screaming voices. We shouldn’t be surprised anymore by his and Cristiano Ronaldo’s feats, but they never cease or even diminish in garnering amazement.

There has been criticism of his performances for his country, that he can’t seem to carry his country like Maradona, or even Ronaldo.

But perhaps that’s why we have been handed those matches of two un-Messi-like ineptitude, so we can fully appreciate what he brought the other night.

We have become bored of the consistency of his mesmeric quality that the footballing gods delivered him a dip so he can remind us that he is human just like us, but super-human all the same. That left foot has so much feel and sensitivity, footballs have no choice but to be under his spell. Forget about controlling a football falling from the sky stone dead, his left foot is so good it could bring a government down.

On the whole, this world cup has ben a real treat but whilst we gorge on the feast of football served at Russia’s top table, spare a thought for the poor souls who are now preparing to go back for pre-season training. Yeah, I know. Your heart bleeds but all struggle is relative.

Footballers are shaped by routine and after having eight weeks of holidays and waking up just in time to catch the start of This Morning with Phil and Holly, going back for pre-season can feel like you’re dealing with a life changing event.

If you thought returning to school after the six weeks holiday was an effort, add in to that the dread of having to push yourself through the pain barrier when you the only thing you’ve pushed over the past eight weeks was a trolley around an airport and food down your throat.

In itself, that routine of a 10 month season followed by a two month break is one of the many reasons why we stay stunted in our emotional growth.

We never break that cycle of school year and six weeks holiday and the only difference between the two for me was no “Why Don’t You?” or repeats of “The Monkees”.

That said, those experiences of watching morning TV during the school holidays never did leave me.

To this day I still can’t walk with my arm around someone’s shoulder without recreating that stupid walk they did, crossing legs as they walk down the beach, and singing “Hey, hey, we’re The Monkees.”.

It’s for this very reason I could never see myself in a relationship with anyone significantly younger than me.

It would be totally lost on them, so unfortunately for my other half, it looks like she’s stuck with me.

Granted, “I’m just staying with you because you are just old enough to get the cultural references in my jokes.” may not come over as a grand gesture of romanticism but we all have our reasons for staying.

If I was putting a case together to justify her staying with me, I do put the bins out most Thursday nights and, even if I forget, I can be seen running along the road next morning chasing the bin men.

As much as my thoughts are with those footballers who have to drag themselves out of bed before breakfast television (BBC Breakfast, before you ask), I’m even more concerned about what we’re all going to do with ourselves on “Black Hole Friday”, the day after all the group games are completed and we’re left with a great big football-sized void in our lives.

I’m in London working that Friday morning, so at least I have that to concentrate on, but with no football to look forward to until the next day, I’m thinking about setting up a support group in Soho, to ward off the inevitable withdrawal symptoms from the four games a day frenzy.

I’ll go first with this. Hi, my name is David and I have a confession to make; I actually enjoyed Denmark v France game ... and I’m not sure I can be saved.