Kerala mourns the death of Argentinian football legend Maradona

The Kerala government has declared a two-day mourning in the state’s sports sector as a mark of respect following the legend’s death
Kerala mourns the death of Argentinian football legend Maradona

“RIP God of Football,” said a tweet by Indian footballing legend IM Vijayan. Vijayan was one of the many Indian sportsperson to pay tribute to the Argentinian great, Diego Maradona, who died of a cardiac arrest on Wednesday.

Maradona is a name that every child in Kerala is familiar with. Considered the greatest footballer of all time, alongside Brazil’s Pele, Maradona’s demise has brought sorrow to the shores of Kerala. The Kerala government has declared a two-day mourning in the state’s sports sector as a mark of respect following the legend’s death. This move by the state, is itself a testament to one of the greatest players to ever play the game of football.

Diego Armando Maradona was born on October 30, 1960 in Lanús, Buenos Aires Province. Raised in a shanty town, Maradona received his first football when he was three-years-old. The young Maradona, not only fell in love with the game of football, it soon became a passion.

Football runs deep in the hearts of Malayalis with many having a war of words and clash of fists over their favourite players and leagues. And so when the iconic footballer, who won the 1986 World Cup for Argentina by scoring a 51st minute goal against England in the quarter finals, which later came to be known as the ‘Hand of God’ goal, visited Kannur for a private event in 2012, the fans rushed in droves for a once in a lifetime opportunity to catch a glimpse of the God of Football.

In fact, room 309 at the Blue Nile Hotel in Kannur is a museum for die-hard football fans. The room is the one Maradona stayed in during his visit to the state.

When the news of his demise was announced, a cloud of sorrow swept across the state. Many football clubs in Kerala paid homage to the departed legend. Kerala Blasters posted their tributes to the footballing icon. "A magnetic personality. An otherworldly talent. One of the greatest to ever do it.” The Kerala-based ISL team tweeted, “Football will miss you. Rest in Peace, Diego Maradona."

Kozhikode businessman Boby Chemmanur, who signed Maradona and launched Boby & Maradona Gold Diamond Jewellery, in an interview with a news channel said, “My biggest pain is that I have lost my dear friend.” He added, “He [Maradona] was not just a footballer, he was the most honest man I have ever come across.”

Boby remembers when he signed Maradona as the brand ambassador for his company. He had asked him whether he would come to Kerala, to which the football legend replied, “Why not?”

Apart from sportspersons and the common man, politicians and public servants are also paying tribute to the legend.

While Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Maradona a maestro of football and grieved his ‘untimely demise’, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in his condolence message said, “Football is the most beautiful game in the world. Maradona was the most popular football player. I think outside Argentina, Maradona has so many fans in Kerala. The great player has been in the minds of football fans in Kerala since Argentina lifted the 1986 World Cup. Whenever the World Cup takes place in any corner of the world, his pictures are most often seen in this small state of Kerala.”

Apart from the Kerala CM, many other political bigwigs from the state has also expressed their condolence on the passing of the legend. The world will greatly miss Maradona's presence. RIP God of Football.

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