Mourners line the streets as Diego Maradona's coffin is driven to the football legend's funeral in Buenos AiresNovember 27, 2020
MOURNERS have lined the streets as Diego Maradona's coffin is driven to the football legend's funeral in Buenos Aires.
Grieving supporters cried as the hearse carrying the former forward drove past them today in Buenos Aires.
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Maradona was laid to rest next to his parents Dalma and Diego at the Jardin de Paz cemetery.
A small group of family and friends carried his casket with the flag of Argentina draped over it into the the cemetery.
About a dozen people were gathered for the private religious ceremony and burial.
His body was meant to lie in state for three days at the presidential palace after Argentina's president Alberto Fernandez declared three days of mourning for Maradona.
Earlier today, fans of Diego Maradona have clashed with police as they scrambled to get a glimpse of the Argentine football legend's casket in Buenos Aires.
Grief and passion boiled over as heartbroken supporters broke through barriers and brawled with riot police near the presidential palace.
Pictures also show hordes of tearful fans surrounding a white hearse last night as they desperately hoped for a glimpse of their hero's final journey through the capital.
Tens of thousands of Argentines took to the streets to mourn him, leaving flowers and messages at his childhood home and at Boca Juniors' stadium.
Maradona became a star in Buenos Aires with Boca Juniors and went on to be a national hero and cultural icon in Argentina.
Fernandez has decreed three days of mourning after the death of the legendary player of a suspected heart attack aged 60.
"His unparalleled footballing skill transformed him into one of the best-known people in the world, crossing frontiers and being universally recognized as the world's best player," said the official mourning decree.
"Diego", "Pelusa", or simply "God", as Maradona was known, had a long career that included leading the South American nation to World Cup glory in 1986.
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Maradona's body lay in a wooden coffin with the blue and white national flag and an Argentina soccer jersey with the famous number 10.
It had been part of his nickname "D10S" – a play on "dios", the Spanish word for God.
Fans held back by a barrier threw things towards the casket, including soccer shirts, as they tried to get near the player.
Maradona became a hero in Argentina and beyond both on and off the pitch despite his well-documented flaws.
"He was someone who touched the sky with his hands but never took his feet off the ground," President Fernandez said on Wednesday.
Hundreds of fans also congregated at other landmarks associated with Maradona.
They gathered outside the home where he was born in the Villa Fiorito neighbourhood, Argentinos Juniors' stadium, where he began his career, La Bombonera stadium, the home of one of Boca Juniors and also at the headquarters of Gimnasia, the Argentinian club in La Plata where he was head coach before he died.
Maradona's successes made him a global star and a national hero in Argentina but his career was also blighted by controversies on and off the field.
Major athletes and world leaders, including Argentine-born Pope Francis, have paid tribute to Maradona – whose appeal and personality transcended football.
A 2005 television clip circulated in local media on Wednesday in which Maradona shared what he would say at his own funeral.
"Thank you for having played football, because it is the sport that gave me the most joy, the most freedom," Maradona said.
"It is like touching the sky with my hands. Thanks to the ball."
Meanwhile, all schools in Naples will be closed today in honour of their former player, with Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis admitting he could change the name of the San Paolo stadium after Maradona too.
Fans flooded into the streets of the city's Spanish Quarters, many of them lighting a candle beneath a huge mural of the Argentine in his sky-blue jersey.
"Ciao, God of Football," read paper signs affixed to the walls of the working class neighbourhood by fans, while others left flowers and messages.
Emotional fans also gathered at Napoli's San Paolo ground,where they left scarves, candles, photos and shirts in tribute to their hero.
"He was a symbol, our hero,”said a young man, who held up his ID card to show that his parents had named him Diego Armando in honour of their idol.
“He gave the city a lift through soccer. It might seem stupid but that's the way it was here."
Back in Buenos Aires, fans laid bouquets of flowers near Boca Juniors’ stadium.
Others gathered in the San Andres neighborhood where he lived and in the nearby city of La Plata where he had lately been technical director for local team Gimnasia y Esgrima.
“Diego is the greatest there is, the best," said 53-year-old Buenos Aires resident Jose Luis Shokiva.
"I met my wife in 1986 when Diego scored the goal with his hand, The truth for me is that Diego is everything.
"As a Boca fan, as an Argentine, he is the greatest. What has happened is an immense sadness.”
Nine ambulances were sent to Maradona’s house around midday local time today in the exclusive gated residential neighbourhood of San Andres north of Buenos Aires where Maradona went to live after leaving hospital.
Local reports said one of the nurses caring for him had raised the alarm after discovering he had suffered a suspected heart attack.
None of the medical responders who rushed to the house were able to do anything to save him.
The preliminary autopsy has found Maradona died in his sleep after suffering heart failure which caused a pulmonary edema.
Medics are also said to have detected dilated cardiomyopathy, a medical condition in which the heart muscle becomes weakened and enlarged and cannot pump enough blood to the rest of the body.
Pulmonary edema, fluid accumulation in the lung’s tissue and air spaces, are caused by heart problems in most cases.
Maradona’s psychologist Carlos Diaz and a psychiatrist named as Agustina Cosachov arrived at the home in the exclusive gated estate where he had been resting since being discharged from hospital.
“They went to his bedroom on a ground floor and spoke to him and he didn’t reply and they asked his nephew and an assistant to enter the room,” according to the report leaked to Argentinian media.
The reports added: “They tried to wake him up and after failing to detect any vital signs made an unsuccessful attempt to revive him by practising CPR.
”The first emergency medical responders on the scene continued the attempts to revive Maradona along with a surgeon who lives near the property, using adrenaline and atropine which is a prescription medicine used to treat the symptoms of low heart rate."
Reportedly the last person to see him alive was his nephew Johnny Esposito.
And the football legend's last words were that he didn’t feel well and was going to lie down again.
Argentina’s former manager Cesar Luis Menotti paid tribute to Maradona by saying: “I’m devastated. I can’t believe it. I’m absolutely gutted. There’s no more I can say at this moment.
“I thought at first the news of his death was fake news but obviously it’s what happened. It’s terrible and a tragic surprise because measures had been taken to make sure he was being looked after.”
Meanwhile, president Fernandez tweeted a picture of him hugging Maradona alongside a heartfelt message.
It said: “You took us to the top of the world. You made us immensely happy. You were the greatest of all.
“Thank you for having existed Diego. We’re going to miss you forever.”
Maradona played for Napoli between 1984 and 1991, scoring 115 goals in 259 games.
He led them to two Serie A titles in 1987 and 1990, as well as the 1987 Italian Cup and 1989 UEFA Cup.
And president De Laurentiis has revealed he is considering changing the name of the San Paolo stadium to include Maradona.
He said: “We can consider the idea of calling our stadium San Paolo-Diego Armanda Maradona.”
Meanwhile, Italian Chamber of Deputies President Fico added: “Naples will always be grateful to you for those unforgettable years.”
Meanwhile, Peter Shilton, the England goalkeeper beaten by Maradona's 'Hand of God' goal in the 1986 World Cup quarter-final, shared his memories of that game.
"For me as a goalkeeper there didn't seem to be any danger," he told Sky Sports News.
"He would have been offside but one of our own players, Steve Hodge, was put off balance, so he was trying to clear it and hooked it back.
"I had a split-second decision to make – do I stay on my line and let the world's greatest player have an opportunity from 10 yards out or can I get there?
"I felt I could just get there, it was an instinct thing, but I was always second-best, I was always trying to catch up.
"I was diving a little bit flat. I knew I was going to get the ball, I think Maradona said in an interview the reason he punched it in with his hand was because he could see I was getting above him, and he couldn't head it.
"He took a chance, it ended up in the back of the net and then he ran off to celebrate.
"You're looking around waiting for the referee to blow his whistle as we did, and of course the rest is history."
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