Thousands line up to say goodbye to Maradona in Argentina

BUENOS AIRES (AP) – Tens of thousands of fans aspiring to honor Diego Maradona lined up next to the coffin of Argentina’s most famous football star on Thursday. Some faced police officers who tried to maintain order in the country’s presidential palace.

Some threw bottles and pieces of metal fences at police in the heart of Buenos Aires, near Casa Rosada. At one point, the officers tried to check them with tear gas.

Fans blew kisses as they passed Maradona’s wooden coffin in the main foyer of the presidential building, some punching their chests with closed fists and shouting, “Let’s go Diego.”

The coffin was covered with an Argentine flag and jersey number 10, which was famously worn by the national team. The various football teams thrown by the crying visitors scattered dozens of other shirts scattered around and around the coffin.

Maradona died of a heart attack on Wednesday near a house in Buenos Aires where she recovered from a brain surgery on November 3rd.

The open visit began at 6:15 p.m. local time (GMT 0915), after a few hours of privacy for family and close friends. First, his daughters and close family members said goodbye. His ex-wife, Claudia Villafañe, came with Maradona’s daughters, Dalma and Gianinna. Later, Verónica Ojeda, also married to their son, Dieguito Fernando.

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Jana, whom Maradona recognized as her daughter only a few years ago, also attended the funeral.

Then came former teammates of the 1986 World Cup winning team, including Oscar Ruggeri. Other Argentine footballers have also appeared, such as Boca Juniors Carlos Tévez.

The lines began to form only a few hours before Casa Rosada, after the death of Maradona was confirmed and grew into several blocks. Among those present were fans of Boca Juniors, one of his former clubs, famous barravas.

The first fan to visit was 30-year-old Nahuel de Lima, who was moving on a crutch because of his disability.

“Argentina has been recognized around the world for talking about Maradona and talking about Argentina,” de Lima told the Associated Press. – Diego people …. Shirts, political flags don’t matter today. We came to say goodbye to a great one that brought us a lot of joy. “

Lidia and Estela Villalba cried near the exit of the lobby. They both wore Boca Juniors jerseys and an Argentine flag on their shoulders.

“We told him we love that he’s the greatest,” they said at the same time.

A huge mural of Maradona’a’s face was painted on the tiles covering the Plaza de Mayo near Casa Rosada, adorned with a huge black ribbon at the entrance.

The giant screen in front of the Casa Rosada shows historical photographs of Maradona in front of passing fans, most but not all of whom wore masks because of the coronavirus epidemic.