No more than 5 days after publishing my Dinner List post I found myself wondering if I would ever get to meet any of the people on it. Then out of the blue an amazing turn of events. One of them came to me!
Let’s not get carried away…
Well not quite. I am getting a little carried away but this really is a bizarre coincidence. Apparently, tonight in Madrid there is an important football game (yes, I realise that those words are a contradiction in terms to many of you). Real Madrid are playing Napoli in the Champions League first knockout stage and it just so happens that Napoli was where Diego Maradona played his football at the height of his fame – and notoriety. I saw on the news last night that Maradona was in town for the football and I found out that he was staying in the same hotel as the Napoli team.
This morning I already had plans to visit a shop on that side of the city so I thought I would pop over to the Hotel Mirasierra on the off chance that I might bump into Maradona. I wasn’t the only one. When I arrived the media circus was assembling. Wherever Maradona goes the media also go. Imagine being that famous. He hasn’t played a competitive game of football for some 20 years and still everyone wants to see him. Wants a piece of him even.
The Anonymous Napoli team…
There were Napoli fans there and a fair number of Italian media but the majority were there for one man. The word on the street was that the Napoli team may leave the hotel to go for dinner about 1pm and Maradona may also go with them. I only had a small amount of change for the parking meter so unfortunately I was not going to hang around to find out. Pathetic I know, but just as well, as there was absolutely no sign of the legend that is Diego.
I did get to see the Napoli team bus return from their morning training session. I didn’t recognise any of them. Nor would I if they were introduced to me. I don’t know any of them and I don’t care. For me (and I dare say many others) there is only one player in that club’s history.
Stalking? Clearly not for me…
I did try to get into the hotel but the security stopped me. My excuses were feeble. “I want to use the café” I said, or something equally pathetic. When I tried a second time they threatened me with the police who bizarrely turned up only minutes later escorting the Napoli team bus. I may have had better luck if I had turned up with some luggage and said that I wanted to check-in. I am clearly not very good at this celebrity stalking lark.
Ironically Maradona was (and still is) one of four people on my dinner list that I genuinely think I have a chance of meeting. Just prior to hearing of his arrival in Madrid I was taking to Dani’s mother about “El Diego” being on my Dinner List, recalling how we once ate in a restaurant in the Boca district of Buenos Aires. Maradona was apparently a regular diner. The many photos of him eating in the place suggested this was true. I always intend to return to that restaurant if I am ever in Argentina again. Maybe it is easier to meet such people in their own backyards.
A little disappointing perhaps. However, it just goes to show how close you can be to making the seemingly impossible, possible. OK, even if I hd got inside the hotel it would never have been dinner and a long chat about the world. At best it may have been a coffee in the same bar and a quick hello – even a selfie (hate that word too). But with a little luck…next time…who knows?