Maradona, a "popular saint" for his followers after a year of his death

Maradona, a "popular saint" for his followers after a year of his death

The first Maradona’s own house, located in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of La Paternal, it not only hides mythical objects from Pelusa. Going up the stairs, on the upper floor, there is a small sanctuary, decorated with paintings, soccer shoes and even an altar with photographs.

“Some Catholics cross themselves, we have seen people kneel, break … The truth is that these are moments that Diego lives very hard,” says César Pérez, curator of a house-museum that is a pilgrimage point for the ” parishioners “maradonianos.

This house is not the only temple where prayers are dedicated to the former soccer player: thousands of murals and hundreds of altars populate the cities of Argentina, a country where millions of people have elevated Diego Maradona to the status of “popular saint”, from whose death This is one year old tomorrow.

Hundreds of altars

The street tributes to “Ten” are endless. Large murals, smaller paintings and affectionate dedications appear in every corner of Buenos Aires, especially in the neighborhood of La Paternal, home of the club that saw him born professionally, Argentinos Juniors.

The Argentinos field, renamed “Estadio Diego Armando Maradona”, is full of artistic references to Pelusa and also has an altar similar to the one installed in his house-museum.

“Diego is a popular idol. Making altars was also a way of giving him back to the people,” Verónica Sánchez, creator of “Santa Maradona”, tells Efe, an initiative that aims to honor the memory of the former soccer player through small wooden altars.

The woman had planned to make only ten altars at first, but the social interest was so great that she ended up building 168, most of them scattered throughout the most humble neighborhoods of Buenos Aires.

A passion motivated by the enormous “empathy” that Maradona generated among the popular classes, to whom he spoke “as equals”, as a person who never lost sight of his origins.

“He spoke the same language as us, he never spoke from above, he never spoke like Diego the super player, he always spoke from the level. That made us all feel part of him, as one more friend, and that is the affection we have for him”, Sanchez says.

“It was not just ‘Argentina, world champion in 86’, Diego and his football magic – he adds -. It was a lot of things that he represented for all of us, especially for the middle and lower classes. The love that he gave him. have those people is infinite, you will always remember someone who made you happy. “

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