Maradona: Fans and police clash as thousands line the street to bid farewell

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Paul Davies

Fans have clashed with police as thousands gathered to bid farewell to Diego Maradona at the footballing legend's funeral.

On Thursday, fans threw bottles and metal fences at police near the Casa Rosada presidential mansion in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Open visitation started at 6.15 am local time (9.15am GMT) after a few hours of privacy reserved for family and close friends.

Draped in an Argentine flag and a No. 10 shirt of the national team, Maradona's casket was positioned at the front of the mansion's main lobby. Dozens of other shirts of different soccer teams were thrown in by visitors who passed by in tears.

Maradona died on Wednesday of a heart attack after recovering from a brain operation earlier this month.

On Thursday, Maradona's daughters and close family members were the first to say goodbye. Former teammates of the 1986 World Cup-winning squad including Oscar Ruggeri, followed. Other Argentine footballers, such as Boca Juniors’ Carlos Tévez, showed up too.

Fans embrace outside Maradona's funeral in Buenos Aires. Credit: AP

The lines started outside the Casa Rosada only hours after Maradona’s death was confirmed. Among those present were the renowned barra bravas fans of Boca Juniors, one of his former clubs.

The first fan to visit was Nahuel de Lima, using crutches to move because of a disability. At the same time, a wave of people tried to get ahead and confronted police, who used tear gas to contain them.

Bodyguards were stopping fans from taking pictures and controlling access to the building. Many fans were breaking down in tears as soon as they left.

Fans who walked past the casket blew kisses into the air, struck their chests with closed fists, and shouted “Let’s go Diego.” Most, but not all, wore masks due to the Covid-19 pandemic.