Gianni Mina and Diego Armando Maradona (Photo by Stefania D’Alessandro/Getty Images)
The world of journalism is mourning the death of Gianni Miná, a historic Italian journalist and close friend of Diego Armando Maradona. Born in Turin, he was also a well-known writer and television presenter. He passed away a few weeks after his 85th birthday (he was born on May 17, 1938).
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“Gianni Miná left us after a short heart disease. He was never left alone and was surrounded by the love of his family and closest friends. A special thank you to Prof. Fioranelli and the staff of the Villa del Rosario clinic who gave us the freedom to say goodbye calmly”, was the publication that appeared this Monday on their social networks.
Gianni began his journalistic career in 1959 at the sports newspaper Tuttosport, where he was also director between 1996 and 1998. In 1960 Miná made his debut on Rai as a sports reporter for the Rome Olympic Games. Five years later it was his baptism in the renowned Sprint sports program, directed by Maurizio Barendson. At that time, his reports began to be widely recognized. The same with his documentaries and feature films that marked an era on Italian TV of those times.
Among his most memorable interviews are the one he did with Fidel Castro in 1987. Also with the Dalai Lama, Jane Fonda, Franco Battiato, Massimo Troisi and Pino Daniele. With Diego Armando Maradona and Pelé he had a very strong relationship. One of the images of him that has traveled the world was when he was photographed smiling at a dinner in Rome with Muhammad Ali, Sergio Leone, Robert De Niro and Gabriel García Márquez. Among his most recognized documentaries are the one made to the figure of Che Guevara, Rigoberta Menchú, Subcomandante Marcos and Diego Maradona himself.
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Gianni Miná came to establish a great friendship with Pelusa and even traveled to Argentina to witness his marriage to Claudia Villafañe. The Italian journalist was widely recognized for achieving one of the deepest confessions of one of the best players of all time. He also accompanied him while the Argentine star carried out his rehabilitation in Cuba.
Gianni Mina and Diego Armando Maradona attend the ‘Che Tempo Che Fa’ TV show on October 20, 2013 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Stefania D’Alessandro/Getty Images)
Throughout his career and the innumerable interviews with Diez, it can be said that Miná was one of those who best understood the character and the person that Diego was. This is a fragment that Andrea Scanzi published on Facebook of Gianni Miná’s explanation of the relationship he came to establish with Maradona.
”My relationship with Maradona has always been very frank. I respected the champion, the soccer genius, but also the man, over whom I knew he had no right, just because he was a public figure and I was a journalist. That’s why I think he has always respected my rights and my need, sometimes, to ask him leading questions. I know that modern communication often believes that he can have a show, an artist, just because his fame would force him to always say yes to the supposed needs of the journalistic and commercial media industry. Maradona, who has rejected this ambiguous logic many times, has been criminalized many times… But no one, not President Ferlaino, nor his comrades (who for this reason still adore him now) nor journalists, nor the Neapolitan public has ever had reasons to doubt Diego’s loyalty.
“So, ultimately, this way of behaving as an adult and as a child led him to overcome all the adversities and dangers – even those that seemed impossible – of his existence. From the dust of Villa Fiorito, in the province of Buenos Aires, where he began his adventure as the best soccer player ever born, to political militancy in the Latin American progressive parties for which he has given his face many times. No footballer has ever gone that far. Diego, by an irony of fate, left this world the same day as another giant, Fidel Castro. In the end we will regret them, as happens to those who have left an indelible mark on the game of football and on life. And now silence. The price of him for the world of football has been paid for a long time ”.
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