Diego Maradona was honoured by the Argentina national team with a statue outside the sparkling new Madre de Ciudades Stadium on Thursday just before the squad’s World Cup qualifier against Chile.
Maradona died on November 25, 2020, after suffering heart failure. He had been in ill-health, undergoing brain surgery not long before his death. His medical treatment around that time has been the subject of investigation by local authorities.
The 1986 World Cup winner was an iconic player and personality who helped lift his country to incredible heights while also dominating opponents at the club level with Boca Juniors, Barcelona and Napoli, along with a host of other sides.
Argentina players gathered before their match against Chile to unveil the statue, which features Maradona standing tall with a ball at his feet.
The team also wore No.10 kits before the game in honour of the legendary midfielder, with the shirts bearing his face and “1960-∞” to represent his timeless legacy.
Following Argentina’s 1-1 draw with Chile, Lionel Messi said the players could feel Maradona watching over them as they competed.
The forward netted the opener from the penalty spot but was narrowly denied on a couple of shots that went close in the final 15 minutes, including one that struck the bar.
“It was a very important match being the first without Diego Maradona,” Messi said. “We know what the national team meant to him, and we know that he was present.”