Emotional fans have confronted police as thousands lined up to farewell Diego Maradona at the Argentine presidential mansion staging the funeral of one of football’s greatest stars.
- Maradona’s wooden casket was in the main lobby of the Argentine presidential office, covered in an Argentine flag and a Number 10 shirt of the national team
- The lines started outside the presidential mansion hours after Maradona’s death was confirmed
- In Italy, the mayor of Naples started a formal process to rename the San Paolo stadium for Maradona
Fans threw bottles and metal fences at police near the Casa Rosada, in the heart of Buenos Aires.
Open visitation started at 6:15am on Thursday local time after a few hours of privacy for family and close friends.
Maradona’s wooden casket was in the main lobby of the presidential office, covered in an Argentine flag and a Number 10 shirt of the national team.
Dozens of other shirts of different football teams were thrown in by visitors who passed by in tears.
Maradona died of a heart attack in a house outside Buenos Aires, where he recovered from a brain operation on November 3.
The first to bid farewell were his daughters and close family members.
Then came former teammates of the 1986 World Cup-winning squad including Oscar Ruggeri.
Other Argentine footballers, such as Boca Juniors’ Carlos Tevez, showed up, too.
The lines started outside the Casa Rosada only hours after Maradona’s death was confirmed.
Among those present were the renowned barra bravas fans of Boca Juniors, one of his former clubs.
The first fan to visit was Nahuel de Lima, using crutches to move because of a disability.
At the same time, a wave of people tried to get ahead and confronted police, who used tear gas to contain them.
Bodyguards were stopping fans from taking pictures and controlling access to the building.
Many fans broke down in tears as soon as they left.
Fans who walked past the casket blew kisses into the air, struck their chests with closed fists, and shouted: “Let’s go Diego.”
Most, but not all, wore masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A giant black screen in front of the Casa Rosada is showing historic photos of Maradona as fans go.
St Paul makes way for Maradona at Napoli stadium
The mayor of Naples started a formal process to rename the San Paolo stadium for Diego Maradona.
A life that was both sublime and overflowing with excess
He had many nicknames — ‘Golden Boy’, ‘Moptop’, ‘Cosmic Kite’, ‘God’ — but, ironically, the name that best captured this colourful character and the operatic saga of his life was his real one: Diego Armando Maradona.
The city operates the San Paolo stadium, where Maradona led Napoli to its only two Serie A titles in 1987 and 1990.
Built after World War II, the stadium was named for St Paul according to the legend that the apostle docked in the surrounding Fuorigrotta area when he reached current-day Italy.
“We are already putting it together this morning, taking the first steps to dedicate Naples’ stadium to Maradona,” Luigi De Magistris said.
“It’s a process but it will be a quick process because when there is such a strong desire there’s nothing that will hold us up.”