Columnist John Tierney has become one of the only two reasons I can think of to read the New York Times-the other is David Brooks.

In a column on today’s co-ed page, Tierney points to one of a great irony in sports multimillionaire Diego Maradona’s leadership of the anti-Bush rallies when the president visited Argentina: 

“Diego Maradona, born in a shantytown near Buenos Aires, became the world’s most famous soccer player in the 1980’s after he left Argentina to play for teams in Spain and Italy. Besides collecting his $5 million salary in Europe, he played exhibition games in Arab countries at $325,000 per appearance and made $10 million annually in endorsement contracts with corporations based in at least four continents, companies like Puma, Fuji-Xerox and Coca-Cola.

“And what did he learn from this international rags-to-riches tale? During Bush’s visit to Argentina, Maradona took time out from his busy schedule (he now has a television show) to help rally tens of thousands of people against that horrible modern scourge: free trade.

“He was one of the headliners at the rally along with Hugo Chávez, the socialist president of Venezuela, who is determined to prevent a free trade agreement among Latin American countries and the United States.

“‘We are going to stand against the human trash known as Bush,’ Maradona told the crowd, between puffs on a cigar given to him by one of his heroes, Fidel Castro.”