Few days after the death of a football icon, Diego Amando Maradona, the Argentine league restarted on Saturday.
This is following the country’s emotional goodbye to the national hero, who was laid to rest on Thursday beside his parents’ graves at Buenos Aires.
Players, coaches, and even referees expressed their love and gratitude to the country’s best-known soccer star.
On Saturday, the main domestic competition was hastily renamed the Diego Maradona Cup, and games in the first stage of group matches kicked off across the country. This happened after a minute’s applause from those present in the fan-free stadiums.
In the South American country, referees wore shirts with “Gracias Diego” emblazoned on the back, while players dedicated goals to the former World Cup star. Maradona died from a heart attack on Wednesday in his home while recovering from brain surgery.
Minute of silence for Diego Maradona starts in Rosario-River.— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) November 29, 2020
Maradona’s last club as a coach, Gimnasia y Esgrima, took to the field wearing shirts with Maradona 10 on the back and were filmed chanting his name in the dressing room after their 1-0 win over Velez Sarsfield.
“We want to dedicate this to our father because he was a father to us, he called us whenever we needed something and we’re happy to give him this victory,” a teary-eyed Victor Ayala of Gimnasia told the TyC Sports channel.
Argentine league honours Maradona with a minute silence and special jerseys as games resumed
Substitute Lucas Licht came off the bench in stoppage time wearing an old pair of boots gifted to him by the former Boca Juniors and Napoli player.
Some stadiums also played songs written in tribute to the star during a storied career that included the 1986 World Cup success while others displayed the face of the famous No. 10 on their big screens 10 minutes into the game.
Other sports including basketball and motor racing also paid tribute to Maradona.