BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – In the working class Buenos Aires district of La Boca, the death of Diego Maradona has cast a long shadow stretching out from the stadium of Boca Juniors where he played in his youth and returned to in his later years.
Maradona was buried on Thursday amid fanfare and high emotion after his death aged 60 from a heart attack this week, laying to rest one of the world’s greatest soccer stars.
“Diego died and everything changed,” said Maria Eugenia Toledo, 30, who works near the stadium.
“I have seen many people cry who I had never seen cry before,” she said, after taking her 5-year-old son to a makeshift memorial set up at the blue-yellow soccer arena.
Daniel Hernan Lopez, a 41-year-old electrician who was taking photos in front of the stadium, where fans left candles, flags, flowers and posters, said it was hard to know “how to live on without the greatest person in the world.”
“The important thing is what Diego did, bringing us the Cup,” he added. “We must be grateful for that alone.”
Maradona, who led Argentina to victory in the 1986 World Cup, had battled health problems, including obesity and drug addiction throughout his life. Weeks ago he underwent head surgery for a subdural hematoma.
“He had already been suffering a lot, with many personal and health problems,” said Wilbert Quispe, a 37-year-old tour guide. “I hope he is where he needs to be, he is happy and calm. I hope he found the peace that he was looking for.”
(Reporting by Miguel Lo Bianco and Claudia Martini, writing by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Adam Jourdan and Aurora Ellis)