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Thousands line up to bid farewell to Maradona in Argentina | Football News

BUENOS AIRES: Tens of thousands of fans eager to honor Diego Maradona lined up to file past the coffin of Argentina’s most iconic soccer star on Thursday, some confronting police who tried to maintain order at the country’s presidential mansion.
Some threw bottles and pieces of metal fencing at police near the Casa Rosada in the heart of Buenos Aires. Officers at one point used tear gas to try to control them.

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

The casket was covered in an Argentine flag and the No. 10 shirt he famously wore the national team. Dozens of other shirts of different football teams tossed in by weeping visitors were scattered on and around the casket.

Maradona died on Wednesday of a heart attack in a house outside Buenos Aires where he recovered from a brain operation on Nov. 3.

Open visitation started at 6:15 a.m. local time (0915 GMT) after a few hours of privacy for family and close friends.The first to bid farewell were his daughters and close family members. His ex-wife Claudia Villafane came with Maradona’s daughters Dalma and Gianinna. Later came Veronica Ojeda, also his ex-wife, with their son Dieguito Fernando.

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In Pics: Diego Maradona – Journey of a charismatic footballer

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<p>Diego Maradona holds up the FIFA World Cup trophy after Argentina’s 3-2 victory over West Germany at the 1986 World Cup final at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City. (AP Photo)</p>

<p>Argentine football star Diego Maradona smokes a Cohiba cigar as he rides a sail boat in waters off Havana on April 8, 2000. (Reuters Photo)</p>

<p>Former Argentina coach Diego Maradona (right) walks alongside Lionel Messi after a practice session in Pretoria on June 10, 2010. (Reuters Photo)</p>

<p>Football legend Diego Maradona balances a ball on his head during a photocall for ‘Maradona by Kusturica’ by Serbian director Emir Kusturica at the 61st Cannes Film Festival on May 20, 2008. (Reuters Photo)</p>

<p>Football greats Pele and Maradona, who have often vied for the title of the best footballer in history, were jointly named best player of the 20th century by FIFA in 2000. (Reuters Photo)</p>

<p>Argentine football star Diego Maradona (L) gives the Argentinian team’s pennant to Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in Jerusalem on May 30, 1994. (AFP Photo)</p>

<p>Former Argentina coach Diego Maradona celebrates with Lionel Messi after their 2010 World Cup second round match against Mexico at Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg on June 27, 2010. (Reuters Photo)</p>

<p>Football legend Diego Maradona gestures as he attends a felicitation programme at Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on December 6, 2008. (AFP Photo)</p>

<p>Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro meets former Argentine star Diego Maradona in Havana on April 13, 2013. (Reuters Photo)</p>

<p>Argentine football legend Diego Maradona greets Pope Francis in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican on September 1, 2014. (AP Photo)</p>

<p>Argentina’s 1986 World Cup winning hero Diego Maradona wearing a traditional Arab headdress visits al-Sadd club in Doha on November 18, 2005. (AFP Photo)</p>

<p>Football legend Diego Maradona, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov (right) and Alexander Khloponin (left) walk to a match between a team of stars against a local team in Grozny, Chechnya, Russia on May 12, 2011. (AP Photo)</p>

<p>Portugal and Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo hailed Argentine football legend Diego Maradona as an “unparalleled magician” who he could call “friend”. (Instagram Photo)</p>

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

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.

Diego Maradona: A magician footballer

Diego Maradona: A magician footballer

The lines started forming outside the Casa Rosada only hours after Maradona’s death was confirmed and grew to several blocks. Among those present were the renowned barrabravas fans of Boca Juniors, one of his former clubs.
The first fan to visit was Nahuel de Lima, 30, using crutches to move because of a disability.
“He made Argentina be recognized all over the world, who speaks of Maradona also speaks of Argentina,“ de Lima told The Associated Press. “Diego is the people…. Today the shirts, the political flags don’t matter. We came to say goodbye to a great that gave us a lot of joy.”
Lidia and Estela Villalba cried near the exit of the lobby. Both had a Boca Juniors shirt and an Argentinian flag on their shoulders.
“We told him we love him, that he was the greatest,“ they said at the same time.
A huge mural of Maradona’a face was painted on the tiles that cover the Plaza de Mayo, near the Casa Rosada, which was decorated with a giant black ribbon at the entrance.
A giant screen in front of the Casa Rosada displayed historic photos of Maradona to the passing fans, most but not all of whom wore masks due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Watch Maradona fans try to rush building to see coffin