Mostly dressed in football shirts, chanting sporting slogans with the anti-Covid-19 mask often under the chin, thousands of people went to the Obelisk, in the heart of Buenos Aires, on Wednesday, November 25, at the following the announcement of the death of Diego Maradona.
“He was very weak, you could see him well, but I thought he still had a few years ahead of him …” 29-year-old Joaquin Caballero’s voice falters. The unconditional supporter of Diego Maradona pauses, puts his mask back on, and reviews the main qualities in his eyes of the ex-Argentine player, absolute icon in the country: “He was much more than a footballer. He bequeaths us his humility, his defense of the most vulnerable, his commitment to great social causes… I identify very much with Maradona, he has represented us throughout the world! “
The one Argentines nickname “Dios”, god in spanish – sometimes written “D10S”, in reference to his jersey number, 10, in the Argentina national team – died of a heart attack, less than a month after turning 60. Coach of the Gimnasia club, he was in his home in Tigre, a suburb of Buenos Aires, where he was resting after an operation for a brain hematoma performed in early November.
In the streets of the recently deconfined capital, the news had the effect of a hammer blow. Stunned, the Argentines saw their television journalists, their throats lump, restraining a sob. “I never thought I would give this information live”, said the famous animator Guillermo Andino, livid, on the América channel.
“He had his contradictions, that’s what makes him human”
“I collapsed when I learned that. And I work in a Loto football, so all day it’s been the parade of customers in tears! “, says Erica Godoy, 39, who came from the suburbs of Buenos Aires to the Obelisk with her husband, a member of the Maradonian Church – an international movement of supporters of the player who worship him without limits and meet twice per year on major festive occasions. “I am a supporter of River [le grand rival de Boca Juniors, où a joué Maradona avant d’être recruté par des clubs européens] but I must admit that at a football level, it is the best of all. “
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