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ARGENTINA | 25-11-2020 17:04

'Very sad day' – Argentina mourns painful loss of Maradona

Diego Maradona's sudden death from a cardiac arrest unleashed an outpouring of emotion in Argentina on Wednesday, as politicians, fans and former teammates paid tribute to the late legendary footballer.

Diego Maradona's sudden death from a cardiac arrest unleashed an outpouring of emotion in Argentina on Wednesday, as citizens, politicians and football fans paid tribute to the late legendary footballer.

In the wake of the news, President Alberto Fernández decreed three days of national mourning.

"Maradona only gave us joy, we are eternally in his debt," he said, remembering the playmaker as "an absolutely genuine man, who expressed everything with the force with which he played football."

"It's a very sad day for all Argentines, it's a huge shame," said Fernández, a fan of Argentinos Juniors, the club where Maradona began his career. 

"For us Diego is everything, the pitch is named Maradona. I don't know if we will ever have a Diego again. How lucky we were to have had him at this time!" said the president, during an interview with TyC Sport, which took place less than an hour after news of the footballer's death had been confirmed.

Regarding his personality, the Peronist leader said that Maradona should be remembered "not only for his technical qualities but for his courage and strength."

"An exceptional player," said Fernández. 

'Great sadness'

Politicians from across the spectrum also expressed their grief.

"Great sadness ... a lot. A great one has left us. Goodbye Diego, we love you very much. Huge hug to your family and loved ones," Vice-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner wrote in a post on Twitter.

Former president Mauricio Macri, who led Boca Juniors as club president and clashed with Maradona in the past, lamented the "very sad day for all football fans across the world, especially Argentines." 

"The enormous joys that Diego gave us will be indelible," he added.

Maradona died Wednesday, aged 60, after suffering a heart attack at his home in Tigre, some 40 kilometres north of Buenos Aires. 

Regarding his wake, Fernández said that Maradona's family had requested that it take place at a football stadium. "Of course what they want will be done," said the president.

Government officials said the Casa Rosada is also under consideration.

Former teammates and fellow footballers across the world also expressed their sadness at the news.

"Maradona made Argentina known in every corner of the world," former Albiceleste star Oscar Ruggeri told ESPN."It's crazy! 60 years! What we have lived with this kid, who made us live the most beautiful moments of my life," he added.

Former national team coach César Luis Menotti could barely contain his tears.

"I've been there, in all things with him since I was 15 years old, we lived many years together. I can't believe it. It's terrible, I don't feel like talking," Menotti told TyC Sport.

Maradona "will be an indelible person in collective Argentine memory," said Fernández. "He is an idol."

– TIMES/AFP

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