Argentina remembers Maradona one year after his death

BUENOS AIRES (AP) – With pagan and religious masses, stadium tributes, murals and emotional messages, Argentines remembered their greatest soccer idol Diego Maradona on Thursday, one year after his death, which they still consider inexplicable.

CONMEBOL, meanwhile, announced that it had registered a space star with the name Maradona.

El Diez died at the age of 60 on November 25, 2020 due to cardio-respiratory arrest in a house on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. The justice indicted seven health professionals for alleged murder with eventual intent.

“The world has been more horrible for a year because you are not here,” wrote Dalma Maradona, the eldest of the star’s daughters, also the father of Gianinna, Jana, Diego Junior and Diego Fernando. “Justice is the only thing I ask for.”

Diego Fernando, the youngest, visited his father’s grave in the Jardin de Bella Vista private cemetery, northwest of Buenos Aires, accompanied by his mother Verónica Ojeda. The boy, with a remarkable physical resemblance to his father, sat in front of the grave and remained there for several minutes, hugging his mother.

“I came so that Dieguito greet his father,” said the woman, Maradona’s first official partner after separating from Claudia Villafañe in the early 2000s.

When asked by the press if he missed his father, the eight-year-old replied: “yes, a lot.”

On the first anniversary of the death of his father, the heirs formalized a request to the mayor of Buenos Aires to build a memorial “of eternal rest where it can be visited and receive the recognition and love of millions of people who express it daily by different means ”, according to the text disseminated through Maradona’s official networks.

They requested that it be located in “a space of free access, of pilgrimage and encounter with nature on the banks of the river.” The Argentine capital is located on the banks of the Río de la Plata.

The initiative must be approved by the legislature of the city of Buenos Aires.

They also visited the cemetery Raúl Alfredo Maradona, known as “Lalo”, and Rita, two of the seven brothers of the former Argentinos Juniors player, Boca Juniors, Barcelona, ​​Napoli, Sevilla and Newell’s Old Boys. They put flowers on the grave and kissed the tombstone before saying goodbye, according to images captured by an APTN team at the scene.

As access to the cemetery is forbidden to people outside the family, several fans approached the cemetery still incredulous by the death of “Pelusa”.

“A year ago at this time the word began to spread that Diego was wrong and at 12, 12.30, what nobody wanted to know was confirmed: that he had gone to another planet,” recalled excitedly Jorge Navarro, a Maradona fan, in front of the access to the cemetery. Dressed in an Independiente club jacket, the man held a poster with a photograph of Diez lifting the World Cup that he won in Mexico in 1986 and the phrase “eternal thanks.”

“Today there is a lot of talk about him, about the bad things he did. It must be remembered in the best way, “said Jonathan Alejandro Luna, who has a Maradona tattoo on his left forearm.” I think he is the only person who represents us in the world. Today you go anywhere, you don’t know the language, you say ‘Maradona’ and they are already understanding you ”.

For its part, CONMEBOL said that it had registered a star “full of goals and dribbles” in the sky named “Maradona”.

“That incomparable star that was Diego now has its fair representation in the sky,” said the entity in a statement.

“Eterno Diego” was the message that Lionel Messi published on his social networks along with a photograph of him wearing an allegorical Argentine jacket to Maradona.

“He watered this soil with glory … and our sky forever,” said the official account of the Argentina team, which enjoyed the best version of the Maradona player at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. “One year after your passage to immortality . We will never forget you ”.

Boca Juniors, the club of which he was a fan, also commented on social media that “you never left. You are in the heart of every fan ”.

The Argentine Football Association (AFA) ordered that on the 22nd day of the league that is played this week, the teams form the number 10 on the playing fields before the start of each game.

Shortly after his death, murals with his image or the most emblematic moments of his career proliferated throughout the country. Also sanctuaries, like the one that Argentinos Juniors raised in their stadium with shirts and objects that belonged to Maradona in his early days as a player. This Thursday a procession of fans came to pay tribute to Ten.

“We came here after getting married,” said Leonardo Pentivolti with his new wife Estefania Santin. “We could not miss the day of death today in our opinion of the best player in history.”

In turn, supporters of Gimnasia La Plata, a team of which Maradona was the coach at the time of his death, also plan to inaugurate a sanctuary this Thursday at the stadium of the La Plata club.


Video journalists Víctor Caivano and Leonardo La Valle contributed to this report.

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