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Colorful impressions

Colorful impressions
Well before the tournament in Brazil got underway, he was standing there near the entrance to the immense Maracanã Stadium in Rio. By now, the Diego Maradona look-a-like is a familiar sight.

The great thing is, unlike many others dressing up as former football heroes, he looks almost real. His huge head of black hair, his black football shoes and, of course, the beautiful blue and white shirt of Argentina from 1986. It all helps turn Stefano (his real name) into a perfect Maradona.

So I naturally approached him for a quick chat.

How did you get this idea?
"From a documentary I watched about the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. When I saw Maradona I realized that's what I wanted to do. Not try and be like him as a footballer – because I'm not particularly good – but be a look-a-like."

And would you call it a success?
"I certainly would. Unfortunately, I can't be here on match days – everything is locked and you can't get in without a ticket.  But I'm here on days when there are no matches. Lots of people want to have their picture taken with possibly the greatest football player in history."

Even though Brazil and Argentina are great football rivals?
"That's right, but they are happy to make an exception for Maradona. And it’s not only the Brazilians who want their picture taken. Plenty of Argentineans and European fans have also posed next to me."

What do they like best about you?
"Everyone immediately points at my wig. Or my old football boots. I think they are the finishing touch. Personally, I think my shirt is the best part. It's not just any shirt, you know. It's a replica of the shirt Maradona and the rest of the team was wearing when Argentina won the World Cup in 1986."

Is it the most beautiful shirt in World Cup history?
"It's hard to say, but I think it's among the top five. I like the Argentinean shirts anyway, but this light blue and white is just a wonderful color combination. Although Brazil's beautiful yellow remains my favorite. It's too bad that we don't always play in blue shorts, like we did in the past. I like them better than the white one we wear."

But which colors will be successful in Sunday's final?
"Yellow will be there anyway, even if Brazil is not in the final. If the Netherlands get through, I already know whose look-a-like I want to be next. Arjen Robben, but then entirely in orange, including shorts, socks and football boots. That would really be a colorful finishing touch."