Tens of thousands line up to bid farewell to Maradona in Argentina

Tens of thousands of fans eager to honor Diego Maradona line up to file past the coffin of Argentina’s most iconic soccer star, some confronting police who tried to maintain order at the country’s presidential mansion.

Some throw bottles and pieces of metal fencing at police near the Casa Rosada in the heart of Buenos Aires. Officers at one point use tear gas to try to control them.

Fans blow kisses as they pass Maradona’s wooden casket in the main lobby of the presidential building, some striking 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 for the national team. Dozens of other shirts of different soccer teams tossed in by weeping visitors were scattered on and around the casket.

Maradona died on Wednesday of a heart attack outside of Buenos Aires where he was recovering from a November 3 brain operation.

Aerial view of people queueing along Avenida de Mayo avenue to reach the Casa Rosada presidential palace to pay tribute to late Argentine football legend Diego Maradona in Buenos Aires in November 26, 2020. (Ivan PISARENKO / AFP)

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 Villafañe came with Maradona’s daughters Dalma and Gianinna. Later came Verónica Ojeda, also his ex-wife, with their son Dieguito Fernando.

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