(CNN)Fans flocked to Italian football club Napoli’s Stadio San Paolo. Others lit candles in honor of Diego Maradona after the news of his death was confirmed on Wednesday.

The superstar, one of the sport’s greatest players, is considered nothing short of a deity in the southern Italian city after spending seven memorable years playing for Serie A team Napoli. Murals still adorn walls across the city, while a banner in his memory was hung on the outside of the stadium which read: “The King.” Which perhaps explains why Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis says he wants to rename the Stadio San Paolo in the Argentine’s honor. “I believe it is right to name the San Paolo after you, so we can keep you with us as a witness of the excellent path this team has taken,” he said in a statement. Read MoreNapoli took to the field for first time since Maradona’s passing on Thursday and beat Rijeka 2-0 in the UEFA Europa League. The squad walked onto the pitch wearing Maradona’s iconic No.10 shirt with his name on the back, and observed a minute’s silence before kick-off. Images of Maradona also appeared on the electric screens around the stadium. Fans, unable to attend the match amid Covid-19 restrictions, gathered in the streets of Naples and outside the San Paolo stadium to pay their respects.READ: The tormented genius who became one of football’s greatest playersDiego Maradona playing for Napoli in 1986. Diego Maradona playing for Napoli in 1986. Diego Maradona playing for Napoli in 1986. Transforming the region Maradona arrived at Napoli in 1984 for a then world record transfer fee. As one TV commentator remarked at the time: “The poorest city in Italy buys the world’s most expensive player.” But Maradona transformed the club’s fortunes on the pitch, leading it to its first Serie A title in 1987, with a second following in 1990. His influence also brought fresh hope to a region suffering from poverty and restored pride to a city looked down upon by much of the country. Maradona’s former agent Jon Smith told CNN’s that the Argentine was “single-handedly” turning around the entire region. No wonder many Neapolitans deified the Argentine. “The southern part of Italy, in those days, was very poor, very religious,” said Smith.”(It) had these huge posters of Jesus hanging off most of the buildings and then massive posters of Diego next to Jesus. It was that level of stardom and it’s difficult to manage that.” People gather outside the San Paolo stadium in Naples to mourn the death of Maradona.People gather outside the San Paolo stadium in Naples to mourn the death of Maradona.People gather outside the San Paolo stadium in Naples to mourn the death of Maradona.’More than a footballer’Over 70,000 fans had greeted Maradona when he first signed for the club and coming from a humble background himself, he quickly identified with the issues faced by the city and an unbreakable bond was formed. “I know all the problems they have. These people make sacrifices to buy the ticket,” Maradona once said.”They believed in me, they gave me everything without knowing me and that cannot be forgotten.” Italian football expert James Horncastle says the fact Maradona chose to play for Napoli was “symbolic” given he could have walked into any other team in the world.”He wanted to win there because he felt like one of them,” Horncastle, who covers Serie A for The Athletic, told CNN Sport.”The way in which Neapolitans identify with Diego Maradona, who came from poverty, is this small guy who stuck it to the big men, who was this anti-establishment figure who could restore pride to that city. “He basically told them that ‘you can be winners too.’ For that reason, he’s more than a footballer in Naples.”READ: Maradona lying in honor at Argentina’s presidential palaceDiego Maradona is carried around the field after leading Argentina to victory in the 1986 World Cup final. Argentina defeated West Germany at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City.Diego Maradona is carried around the field after leading Argentina to victory in the 1986 World Cup final. Argentina defeated West Germany at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City. Photos: Soccer legend Diego MaradonaDiego Maradona is carried around the field after leading Argentina to victory in the 1986 World Cup final. Argentina defeated West Germany at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City.Hide Caption 1 of 27A 16-year-old Maradona warms up in Buenos Aires in 1977. A year earlier, he made his professional debut with the club Argentinos Juniors. A few months after that, he made his international debut with Argentina's national team.A 16-year-old Maradona warms up in Buenos Aires in 1977. A year earlier, he made his professional debut with the club Argentinos Juniors. A few months after that, he made his international debut with Argentina's national team. Photos: Soccer legend Diego MaradonaA 16-year-old Maradona warms up in Buenos Aires in 1977. A year earlier, he made his professional debut with the club Argentinos Juniors. A few months after that, he made his international debut with Argentina’s national team.Hide Caption 2 of 27Maradona celebrates on the shoulders of teammates after they won the 1979 FIFA World Youth Championships.Maradona celebrates on the shoulders of teammates after they won the 1979 FIFA World Youth Championships. Photos: Soccer legend Diego MaradonaMaradona celebrates on the shoulders of teammates after they won the 1979 FIFA World Youth Championships.Hide Caption 3 of 27Maradona sits at his home in Buenos Aires in 1980. From the earliest days of his career, he was known as "El Pibe de Oro" ("The Golden Boy").Maradona sits at his home in Buenos Aires in 1980. From the earliest days of his career, he was known as "El Pibe de Oro" ("The Golden Boy"). Photos: Soccer legend Diego MaradonaMaradona sits at his home in Buenos Aires in 1980. From the earliest days of his career, he was known as “El Pibe de Oro” (“The Golden Boy”).Hide Caption 4 of 27Maradona is carried by fans after leading Buenos Aires club Boca Juniors to a championship in 1981. The next year, Boca Juniors sold Maradona to Spanish club Barcelona for a world-record fee.Maradona is carried by fans after leading Buenos Aires club Boca Juniors to a championship in 1981. The next year, Boca Juniors sold Maradona to Spanish club Barcelona for a world-record fee. Photos: Soccer legend Diego MaradonaMaradona is carried by fans after leading Buenos Aires club Boca Juniors to a championship in 1981. The next year, Boca Juniors sold Maradona to Spanish club Barcelona for a world-record fee.Hide Caption 5 of 27Maradona, playing for Barcelona, dribbles past Manchester United players in 1984.Maradona, playing for Barcelona, dribbles past Manchester United players in 1984. Photos: Soccer legend Diego MaradonaMaradona, playing for Barcelona, dribbles past Manchester United players in 1984.Hide Caption 6 of 27Maradona married Claudia Villafañe in 1984. They had two daughters together before divorcing in 2004.Maradona married Claudia Villafañe in 1984. They had two daughters together before divorcing in 2004. Photos: Soccer legend Diego MaradonaMaradona married Claudia Villafañe in 1984. They had two daughters together before divorcing in 2004.Hide Caption 7 of 27During the quarterfinals of the 1986 World Cup, Maradona outjumps England goalkeeper Peter Shilton to score. The ball went in off Maradona's hand and should have been disallowed, but the officials missed the call. It is now known as the "Hand of God" goal after Maradona said he hit the ball a little with his head "and a little with the hand of God."During the quarterfinals of the 1986 World Cup, Maradona outjumps England goalkeeper Peter Shilton to score. The ball went in off Maradona's hand and should have been disallowed, but the officials missed the call. It is now known as the "Hand of God" goal after Maradona said he hit the ball a little with his head "and a little with the hand of God." Photos: Soccer legend Diego MaradonaDuring the quarterfinals of the 1986 World Cup, Maradona outjumps England goalkeeper Peter Shilton to score. The ball went in off Maradona’s hand and should have been disallowed, but the officials missed the call. It is now known as the “Hand of God” goal after Maradona said he hit the ball a little with his head “and a little with the hand of God.”Hide Caption 8 of 27In the same match against England, Maradona scored another goal that would go down in history. He started from his own half, dribbling past many English defenders on his way to scoring what was later called "The Goal of the Century."In the same match against England, Maradona scored another goal that would go down in history. He started from his own half, dribbling past many English defenders on his way to scoring what was later called "The Goal of the Century." Photos: Soccer legend Diego MaradonaIn the same match against England, Maradona scored another goal that would go down in history. He started from his own half, dribbling past many English defenders on his way to scoring what was later called “The Goal of the Century.”Hide Caption 9 of 27Maradona and Pelé hold "Sports Oscar" trophies in 1987. In 2000, the two split FIFA's Player of the Century award.Maradona and Pelé hold "Sports Oscar" trophies in 1987. In 2000, the two split FIFA's Player of the Century award. Photos: Soccer legend Diego MaradonaMaradona and Pelé hold “Sports Oscar” trophies in 1987. In 2000, the two split FIFA’s Player of the Century award.Hide Caption 10 of 27Maradona ties his shoelaces before a friendly game against West Germany in 1987.Maradona ties his shoelaces before a friendly game against West Germany in 1987. Photos: Soccer legend Diego MaradonaMaradona ties his shoelaces before a friendly game against West Germany in 1987.Hide Caption 11 of 27Maradona holds his daughters Dalma and Giannina in 1989.Maradona holds his daughters Dalma and Giannina in 1989. Photos: Soccer legend Diego MaradonaMaradona holds his daughters Dalma and Giannina in 1989.Hide Caption 12 of 27Maradona celebrates a teammate's goal during the 1990 World Cup. Argentina advanced to the final but lost to West Germany.Maradona celebrates a teammate's goal during the 1990 World Cup. Argentina advanced to the final but lost to West Germany. Photos: Soccer legend Diego MaradonaMaradona celebrates a teammate’s goal during the 1990 World Cup. Argentina advanced to the final but lost to West Germany.Hide Caption 13 of 27Maradona was back for his fourth World Cup in 1994, but it wasn't for long.Maradona was back for his fourth World Cup in 1994, but it wasn't for long. Photos: Soccer legend Diego MaradonaMaradona was back for his fourth World Cup in 1994, but it wasn’t for long.Hide Caption 14 of 27Maradona addresses the media after Argentina dropped him from the 1994 World Cup team. Just hours before the team's final first-round game, it was revealed that he had tested positive for the use of ephedrine, a banned stimulant. In 1991, Maradona tested positive for cocaine use and was banned for the sport for 15 months.Maradona addresses the media after Argentina dropped him from the 1994 World Cup team. Just hours before the team's final first-round game, it was revealed that he had tested positive for the use of ephedrine, a banned stimulant. In 1991, Maradona tested positive for cocaine use and was banned for the sport for 15 months. Photos: Soccer legend Diego MaradonaMaradona addresses the media after Argentina dropped him from the 1994 World Cup team. Just hours before the team’s final first-round game, it was revealed that he had tested positive for the use of ephedrine, a banned stimulant. In 1991, Maradona tested positive for cocaine use and was banned for the sport for 15 months.Hide Caption 15 of 27Maradona is joined by his wife, Claudia, and their daughters Giannina, left, and Dalma while celebrating his 35th birthday in 1995.Maradona is joined by his wife, Claudia, and their daughters Giannina, left, and Dalma while celebrating his 35th birthday in 1995. Photos: Soccer legend Diego MaradonaMaradona is joined by his wife, Claudia, and their daughters Giannina, left, and Dalma while celebrating his 35th birthday in 1995.Hide Caption 16 of 27Maradona kisses his Boca Juniors teammate Claudio Caniggia after a goal against rival River Plate in 1996. Maradona finished out his playing career at Boca, where he starred in the early 1980s before moving to Europe.Maradona kisses his Boca Juniors teammate Claudio Caniggia after a goal against rival River Plate in 1996. Maradona finished out his playing career at Boca, where he starred in the early 1980s before moving to Europe. Photos: Soccer legend Diego MaradonaMaradona kisses his Boca Juniors teammate Claudio Caniggia after a goal against rival River Plate in 1996. Maradona finished out his playing career at Boca, where he starred in the early 1980s before moving to Europe.Hide Caption 17 of 27Maradona talks to Cuban President Fidel Castro before recording a TV show in Havana, Cuba, in 2005.Maradona talks to Cuban President Fidel Castro before recording a TV show in Havana, Cuba, in 2005. Photos: Soccer legend Diego MaradonaMaradona talks to Cuban President Fidel Castro before recording a TV show in Havana, Cuba, in 2005.Hide Caption 18 of 27Maradona balances a ball on his head at the Cannes Film Festival in France in 2008. A Maradona documentary was making its premiere at the festival.Maradona balances a ball on his head at the Cannes Film Festival in France in 2008. A Maradona documentary was making its premiere at the festival. Photos: Soccer legend Diego MaradonaMaradona balances a ball on his head at the Cannes Film Festival in France in 2008. A Maradona documentary was making its premiere at the festival.Hide Caption 19 of 27Maradona, as manager of Argentina's national team, is greeted by schoolchildren before the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.Maradona, as manager of Argentina's national team, is greeted by schoolchildren before the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Photos: Soccer legend Diego MaradonaMaradona, as manager of Argentina’s national team, is greeted by schoolchildren before the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.Hide Caption 20 of 27Maradona celebrates a goal during the 2010 World Cup. The team advanced to the quarterfinals before being eliminated by Germany.Maradona celebrates a goal during the 2010 World Cup. The team advanced to the quarterfinals before being eliminated by Germany. Photos: Soccer legend Diego MaradonaMaradona celebrates a goal during the 2010 World Cup. The team advanced to the quarterfinals before being eliminated by Germany.Hide Caption 21 of 27Maradona gives instructions to Argentina star Lionel Messi during a match at the 2010 World Cup.Maradona gives instructions to Argentina star Lionel Messi during a match at the 2010 World Cup. Photos: Soccer legend Diego MaradonaMaradona gives instructions to Argentina star Lionel Messi during a match at the 2010 World Cup.Hide Caption 22 of 27Maradona meets another famous Argentine, Pope Francis, in 2014.Maradona meets another famous Argentine, Pope Francis, in 2014. Photos: Soccer legend Diego MaradonaMaradona meets another famous Argentine, Pope Francis, in 2014.Hide Caption 23 of 27Maradona, attending the 2018 World Cup as a fan, celebrates an Argentina goal in St. Petersburg, Russia.Maradona, attending the 2018 World Cup as a fan, celebrates an Argentina goal in St. Petersburg, Russia. Photos: Soccer legend Diego MaradonaMaradona, attending the 2018 World Cup as a fan, celebrates an Argentina goal in St. Petersburg, Russia.Hide Caption 24 of 27Maradona greets fans outside the Casa Rosada government house after meeting with Argentine President Alberto Fernandez in 2019.Maradona greets fans outside the Casa Rosada government house after meeting with Argentine President Alberto Fernandez in 2019. Photos: Soccer legend Diego MaradonaMaradona greets fans outside the Casa Rosada government house after meeting with Argentine President Alberto Fernandez in 2019.Hide Caption 25 of 27Maradona's last managerial job was with Argentine club Gimnasia y Esgrima. Here, he is seen before a match in January 2020.Maradona's last managerial job was with Argentine club Gimnasia y Esgrima. Here, he is seen before a match in January 2020. Photos: Soccer legend Diego MaradonaMaradona’s last managerial job was with Argentine club Gimnasia y Esgrima. Here, he is seen before a match in January 2020.Hide Caption 26 of 27A woman walks past a Maradona mural in San Justo, Argentina, in October 2020.A woman walks past a Maradona mural in San Justo, Argentina, in October 2020. Photos: Soccer legend Diego MaradonaA woman walks past a Maradona mural in San Justo, Argentina, in October 2020.Hide Caption 27 of 2701 maradona gallery03 maradona gallery04 maradona gallery05 maradona gallery RESTRICTED06 maradona gallery07 maradona gallery RESTRICTED12 maradona gallery RESTRICTED29 maradon gallery RESTRICTED09 maradona gallery10 maradona gallery11 maradona gallery RESTRICTED13 maradona gallery RESTRICTED15 maradona gallery RESTRICTED14 maradona gallery16 maradona gallery17 maradona gallery18 maradona gallery19 maradona gallery20 maradona gallery21 maradona gallery22 maradona gallery23 maradona gallery24 maradona gallery26 maradona gallery25 maradona gallery27 maradona gallery28 maradona gallery‘Maradona is a God’Despite producing some sublime football for Napoli, things were more complicated for Maradona off the pitch.Horncastle says Maradona’s time in Naples was a “metaphor” of his life with extreme highs being followed by dark lows.There was alcoholism, drug use and connections with the Neapolitan mafia, with the icon partying from Sunday to Wednesday at the height of his fame. 'We will play football together in heaven,' says Pele in tribute to Diego Maradona'We will play football together in heaven,' says Pele in tribute to Diego Maradona'We will play football together in heaven,' says Pele in tribute to Diego MaradonaWhilst his personal life was mired in controversy, Maradona’s impact on the region remains everlasting. Former Italy star Fabio Cannavaro once said: “Maradona is a God to the people of Naples. Maradona changed history.” Napoli’s stadium announcer Daniele Bellini said he used to have a picture of Maradona beside his childhood bed and would go to sleep every night happy because the legend was playing for his team.”Diego was football and much more, he was the voice of those who didn’t have a voice,” Bellini wrote on Instagram.”Thanks Diego for everything you have done for us Neapolitans, you will never be forgotten.”

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