Remembering Diego Maradona one year on: Edinburgh Rugby’s Ramiro Moyano on meeting the icon and his impact in Argentina

Argentina may be a football-mad nation but Ramiro Moyano’s background is strictly rugby, even if the Edinburgh player can point to a couple of encounters with Diego Maradona.

Ramiro Moyano practises his football skills during an Edinburgh Rugby training session. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

Moyano, who moved to Scotland in the close season after a spell in France with Toulon, felt privileged to meet the 1986 World Cup winner but was acutely aware of his flawed personality.

Today marks the first anniversary of the death of the player many regard as the world’s greatest footballer but who continues to divide opinion.

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“I met Maradona at the Sevens in Dubai, and the second time was in England. I was lucky to do that,” said Moyano

Diego Maradona in his pomp, playing for Argentina against Scotland at Hampden in 1979.

“I think when he was living in other countries, every time an Argentinian team went there he would support them.”

His death provoked a huge outpouring of grief in Argentina but there were detractors too for someone whose talents were beyond compare but who often crossed over into dark areas.

“I think for all the people of Argentina it had a really hard impact,” Moyano said of Maradona’s death. “But there was always a fight between the people who love and the people who hate. For me, as a professional player, he was outstanding. What he did in his personal life - if you can separate that, it’s really good. If you put it all together maybe you’re not so fond of him.”

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Another Argentinean signing, Emiliano Boffelli, linked up with Edinburgh this week. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)

Moyano is starting to feel settled in Edinburgh and this week welcomed countryman Emiliano Boffelli to the club after his stint with the Argentina national team.

“I’m trying to help him a little bit with the language and the city,” said Moyano. “I’ve been here for three months and he’s only been here two days, so I’m trying to be supportive with whatever he needs.”

While Moyano is rugby through and through he revealed that Boffelli was a handy footballer.

“I’ve been raised in a rugby family, so for me that’s the main course,” said Moyano. “Football is massive in Argentina. I think the best footballer here is Emiliano. He’s really good. I think he played some professional football when he was younger. But I’ve been raised in a rugby family. That’s why I’m here.”

Having made his competitive debut in the 20-20 draw with the Stormers last month, Moyano is looking to kick on, starting with this weekend’s match against the Dragons in Newport.

He has only had a brief taste of the United Rugby Championship but knows the style is different to the game played back home and in the Top 14. He is relishing the contrast and is unfazed - thus far, at least - by the Scottish weather.

“It’s not too bad. I think it will get worse, for sure, but you get used to the weather,” he said. “I’m from Tucuman in the north - it’s really hot over there.

“In France it’s a different game time from here - they play more champagne rugby, as they call it, and they don’t count the structure.

“Here it’s more a blend of that kind of rugby and this kind of rugby and the Argie Super Rugby. Maybe it can make me improve a little bit: that’s what I’m trying to do.”

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