BUENOS AIRES - Argentines crowded near the presidential mansion Thursday where football star Diego Maradona’s funeral is being held.
Thousands of Argentines faced police officers and long lines to pay their respects to the legendary midfielder, who died of a cardiorespiratory issue at the age of 60 a day earlier.
EN VIVO | Despedida a Diego Armando Maradona https://t.co/5o3InKTY5D— Casa Rosada (@CasaRosada) November 26, 2020
Maradona lay in state, his casket draped in an Argentine flag and his number 10 jersey, at the Casa Rosada in Buenos Aires Thursday. Open visitation began at 6:15am local time, after a few private hours for family and close friends.
The star’s family was hoping to bury Maradona Thursday evening in the Bella Vista cemetery on the outskirts of Buenos Aires where his parents are also interred, Reuters reported.
Tributes to Maradona flooded social media Wednesday and Thursday, with many of his old teams including FC Barcelona posting videos of his old plays with captions like “Thank you for everything, Diego” and “we’ll never forget you”.
💙❤ Always in our memory pic.twitter.com/FM2qPkekuI— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) November 25, 2020
"He was someone who touched the sky with his hands but never took his feet off the ground," President Alberto Fernandez said on Wednesday.
In 1986, Maradona, who came from humble roots, led the Argentine side to a World Cup title in Mexico. During the tournament, he scored what many consider one of the all-time greatest goals against England when he sliced through the English defense. In that same game, he scored the controversial “hand of God” goal when he got away with what appeared to be a handball leading to a score.
Playing for his home country, he scored 34 goals in 91 appearances. He appeared in four World Cups.
During the peak of his club career, he played for European powerhouses Barcelona and Napoli, during which he helped the Italian side win two Serie A titles.