Diego Maradona. The name evokes a smile from most Napoli fans, having played some of his best years in the San Paolo, bringing two scudetto titles to Naples and a UEFA Cup for good measure. The name evokes a grimace to others, remembering his "Hand of God" goal at the World Cup and all the scandals he's been involved in. On Monday, though, his name evoked surprise, after he announced he would run to be president of FIFA.
The news is a huge surprise. Maradona has long been a vocal critic and opponent of current FIFA chief Sepp Blatter, and was vindicated to some extent by the current corruption scandal rocking the organization, with Blatter at the heart of it. Now with Blatter ostensibly stepping down once the upcoming special election is held -- unless he doesn't, which he might! -- Maradona apparently feels that he's the man to replace him.
It'd be a surprising turnaround for Maradona to take on such a huge role. He's not totally unfamiliar with taking power roles in football, managing several teams, including at two-year stint in charge of the Argentina national team. He's never done well in such roles, though, and considering he's frequently been involved in scandals of his own -- drugs and tax evasion are favorites of Maradona's, though he's supposedly been clean of drugs and alcohol for several years now -- so it's hard to imagine Maradona actually winning the election.
Still, seeing how he campaigns should be quite entertaining, especially if and when Blatter decides that he's going to keep his name in consideration, or just call off the election entirely. The Maradona Meltdown Special would be incredible.