Willemsen is a poet who writes stories. Every sentence in his books could be part of a new poem. With his romantic view, he looks at the world of football and chooses his favourite. Obviously it has to be Maradona. A player who combines dazzling heights with extreme lows. The Argentinian star appeals to the masses, especially lower class.
In this book Willemsen chooses to fictionalise the career of Maradona, as a battle against the career of someone who obviously doesn’t have his approval: Joao Havelange. The Brazilian bureaucrat has to see his native country win the world cup, regardless the circumstances. By fictionalising the story, Willemsen gets away with accusing Havelange of corruption, though it is very obvious that this is exactly what he is doing.
So the story goes from Maradona’s debut at the world cup, Spain 1982, a big disaster, until USA 1994, where Brasil finally wins the world cup that Havelange sees as his personal achievement. Nice story, which makes you think how much could be true. Is it really coincidence that Maradona was caught using dope in ’94? The epilogue about world cup 1998 (the book was published in 1996) was not really necessary in my opinion.