Almost every moment in Argentina since last Wednesday has been tied to the death of national icon Diego Maradona, with homages to the football star in every corner of public and private life.
-The wake was predictably a mass event, although ending after just one day per request of the family. Held at the relatively small Casa Rosada, the queue of hundreds of thousands of fans had only a few hours to say goodbye to their idol, leading to some incidents when closing time approached, as those still several blocks away from the government house grew anxious. Metropolitan police shot tear gas and rubber bullets near 9 de Julio Avenue, and a small group of fans stormed one of Casa Rosada’s entrances as the main door closed for a visit of VP Cristina Kirchner.
-With the wake over early, the remains of Maradona were then taken to the Jardín Bella Vista cemetery in Buenos Aires Province, as fans near the roads chanted his name and cars honked throughout the procession. The ceremony in Bella Vista was a private one, only for close friends and family, with no journalists allowed. Maradona’s remains now rest next to his parents Don Diego and Doña Tota.
📢"OLÉ, OLÉ, OLÉ, DIEGOOO, DIEGOOO". 👏🚨Así salía el cortejo fúnebre desde Casa Rosada rumbo al cementerio de Bella Vista. Gran arenga de los fanáticos de #Maradona en el último #ADI0S al ídolo argentino. 🙌 #Rosario3 pic.twitter.com/yubxShwIkz
— Rosario3.com (@Rosariotres) November 26, 2020
-The Argentine government decreed a three-day national mourning period for Maradona’s death, with Buenos Aires’ streets full of private ceremonies, some of the dozen songs associated with the 1986 world cup winner constantly blaring from balconies and backyards, and places typically linked to Maradona filled with candles, football shirts, street art and more.
Acts of remembrance continued well into the weekend, especially during football games. Maradona’s private box at La Bombonera, Boca Juniors stadium, had the only seats open to the public, as Diego’s daughter Dalma had the team dedicate their 2-0 win to her. Lionel Messi had a remarkably similar goal to Maradona’s only score in his childhood club Newell’s, and celebrated by unveiling a Newell’s jersey under his Barcelona one. Napoli changed its stadium name from San Paolo to Diego Maradona, and teams from Uzbekistan and Bangladesh to Brazil and England all organized their own ceremonies, a sign of Maradona’s international popularity.
Goles casi identicos Messi – Maradona pic.twitter.com/EB0TyD7mtx
— Juan Carlos Rodriguez (@jcrodu) November 30, 2020
-An investigation on the circumstances of Maradona’s death is ongoing, with his personal doctor Leopoldo Luque accused of mishandling the aftermath of a surgery earlier this month, in which a subdural hematoma was removed from Maradona’s head, and the former footballer sent home quickly after it despite being a high-risk patient.