When the Argentinian team entered the San Paolo stadium for the Opening Ceremony of the Universiade here earlier this week, the wonderful reception they received was down to the legacy of a man who is still arguably the favourite sporting son of the city.
Walk around the streets of Naples, you will see the emblem of the 2019 University Games hanging down from many public buildings.
But take a few steps off the beaten track from Toledo station, and walk up the back streets, and you will come across a giant mural portraying Diego Armando Maradona at the very height of his career in a Napoli shirt.
Maradona has had spells in hospital over the last few months . His has been a turbulent life but few will dispute the zenith was his time as a Neapolitan.
He had burst onto the scene as a teenager with Argentinos Juniors and then moved to Buenos Aires giants Boca Juniors in the mid-1970s. He was famously left out of Argentina’s squad for the 1978 World cup squad by manager Cesar Luis Menotti on account of his youth, but he inspired the team to the FIFA World Youth Cup in Japan the following year.
A spell with Barcelona followed and his first World Cup in 1982 had ended in tears with a sending off. But in 1984 - 35 years ago today - came the sensational news that he was to sign for Napoli .
Over 70,000 packed the San Paolo stadium on a July day in 1984 to welcome him with banners. Maradona emerged into the sunlight to greet his new adoring public with kisses and kicked a football into the crowd.
"In Maradona’s opinion, Napoli was the ideal city for him," recalls Gianfranco Coppola, a leading Italian journalist. "In my opinion he made the right choice. Maradona is not the typical player, sometime the training he would come one day and another day no."
Maradona’s first game came against Fiorentina that autumn but it was after he returned from the 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico that everything turned to gold. In Mexico his virtuosity did much to ensure that football's greatest prize went to Argentina. He scored three sublime goals and one which will be remembered forever as the "hand of god".
Back at Napoli the following season, Maradona scored the winner on the opening day and the team were off and running.
Maradona helped them do the double over Juventus.
He was their leading scorer and some of his efforts were of outstanding brilliance. He also scored the winner against Milan. The side lost only three matches all season and finished three points ahead of Juventus to seal the title or, as they say in Italy, "Scudetto". This lit the touchpaper on wild celebrations.
That night, few slept in the city as they celebrated the Championship for the first time since the clubs foundation in 1926. For good measure they also won the Coppa Italia to complete the double.
"At that time Juventus and Milan were a very long distance from Napoli in football terms," Said Coppola. "Napoli won against their great rivals because Maradona closed the gap. People wanted to support him."
The fans prepared mock "coffins" in the colours of the other Serie A teams. It was perhaps a little tasteless but expressed their sheer joy. Maradona once said that "he lived to beat Juventus." To this day, the rivalry between the two is particularly intense. Banners in Naples display a picture of the Juventus stadium as if it were a toilet seat.
In 1988 Napoli were Serie A runners-up which meant they qualified for the UEFA Cup, the forerunner of the Europa League. This was another glorious campaign. They beat Juventus and Bayern Munich en route to the final against Vfb Stuttgart .
The Napoli line ups was boosted by Brazilians Careca and Alemao but it was stil Maradona who pulled the strings. Inevitably he scored in the final and was soon lifting Napoli’s first European trophy.
A second Serie A title came the following season. Napoli had never known such good times.
The 1990 World Cup was in Italy and, although Argentina famously lost their opening match against Cameroon, they still reached the semi-final where they were to play host nation in of all places Naples. Maradona controversially asked the locals to support his team against Italy.
He told them, "I don't like the fact that now everyone is asking the Neapolitans to be Italian and to support their national team. Naples has always been marginalised by the rest of Italy. It is a city that suffers the most unfair racism."
It was said that the San Paolo stadium was the only place where Argentina’s anthem was not booed at Italia 90. Argentina went on to beat Italy on penalties but the tournament did not end well. In what was one of the most disappointing World Cup finals in history, Argentina had two men sent-off and lost to Germany. Maradona left the field in tears. There were scandals in his private life he was suspended for drug use at the end of his Napoli career and conspiracy theories abound.
"Maradona is a complicated man - he had a lot of people around him and many did not like him, but for the Neapolitan people, he is a legendary figure in the life of the city," Coppola. "He is not just a player, he is a God for the people of Napoli. He always in their hearts - he lives in their memory even today."
A documentary on his life and career is due for release this year. It is the work of the acclaimed Asif Kapadia, who previously directed a film about Brazilian racing driver Ayrton Senna.It claims to use some 500 hours of previously unseen footage to tell the story of a man who has never been forgotten in this corner of Italy and has already received rave notices in previews.