Thu, 28 Jan 2021

Roundup: Latin America pays tribute to Maradona

Xinhua
26 Nov 2020, 14:51 GMT+10

BUENOS AIRES, Nov. 25 (Xinhua) -- The world paid tribute to the late Diego Maradona on Wednesday, with Argentina leading the way by declaring three days of national mourning for its football legend.

Monuments and landmarks in the country's capital Buenos Aires were to be illuminated starting Wednesday with the colors of the Argentinian flag in his honor, with the light show to be repeated each night of mourning.

Maradona, who turned 60 at the end of October, suffered a heart attack on Wednesday that led to cardiorespiratory arrest. He died at his home on the northern outskirts of Buenos Aires.

Maradona will be given a state funeral at Casa Rosada, Argentina's presidential headquarters, starting Thursday.

More than a million people are expected to attend, according to a government spokesperson, who added social distancing measures would be observed so fans could safely bid farewell to their football hero.

Argentina's president Alberto Fernandez told public television: "I want all Argentinians who want to say goodbye to him to be able to do so."

Latin American leaders joined in remembering the football icon, with the president of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, recalling that Maradona experienced "his stellar moment" as a football player in Mexico.

Maradona led Argentina's national team to glory at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico with an outstanding performance in which he scored two of the most memorable goals in football history during a quarterfinal match against England.

"Because of him, I found the charm in this sport," Lopez Obrador said via Twitter, where he also posted an image of Maradona carrying the 1986 World Cup trophy.

Bolivia's former president Evo Morales remembered Maradona as a champion not just of football, but of the rights of the less privileged.

"With a pain in my soul I have learned of the death of my soul brother, Diego Armando Maradona. A person who felt and fought for the humble, the best football player in the world," tweeted Morales.

Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro also lamented his death, calling Maradona "a brother and unconditional friend of Venezuela."

Venezuela's Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Arreaza echoed that sentiment, describing the footballer as "a man of the people" who "assumed his infinite talent and his failings with unmatched courage."

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