Conmebol’s tribute: a star will bear Maradona’s name

The star “Maradona” was registered in the Star Registration platform under the number 1307-87268-2718878. World champion in Mexico 86, Maradona died on November 25, 2020 from heart failure.

A statue of Argentinean soccer legend, Diego Armando Maradona, made by Italian sculptor Domenico Sepe, is unveiled in front of the stadium on the first anniversary of his death in Naples, Italy, November 25, 2021. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca
A statue of Argentinean soccer legend, Diego Armando Maradona, made by Italian sculptor Domenico Sepe, is unveiled in front of the stadium on the first anniversary of his death in Naples, Italy, November 25, 2021. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca

The South American Football Confederation (Conmebol) announced an unusual tribute to Diego Maradona, exactly one year after the death of what many consider the greatest footballer in history: it baptized a star with his name.

“That matchless star that Diego was now has its just representation in the sky,” Conmebol said in a statement two days before the final of the Copa Libertadores that Palmeiras and Flamengo will play in Montevideo.

“Maradona already shines in the sky,” the statement was titled by Conmebol, which continued to play with stellar metaphors in the text and defined the Argentine as a “star” who “illuminated” the courts in which he played.

The star “Maradona” was registered in the Star Registration platform under the number 1307-87268-2718878.

World champion in Mexico 86, Maradona died on November 25, 2020 from heart failure.

In fact, Maradona’s heart was the subject of Argentine media attention in recent days. Journalist Juan Manuel Lombardero revealed on news channel TN that the “barra brava” (violent fans) of Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata, the last club Maradona managed, planned to take over the organ of the Mexico 86 world champion once he died.

Soccer Football - Superliga - Boca Juniors v Gimnasia y Esgrima - Alberto J. Armando Stadium, Buenos Aires, Argentina - March 7, 2020   Gimnasia y Esgrima coach Diego Maradona before the match   REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian
Soccer Football - Superliga - Boca Juniors v Gimnasia y Esgrima - Alberto J. Armando Stadium, Buenos Aires, Argentina - March 7, 2020 Gimnasia y Esgrima coach Diego Maradona before the match REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian

“On December 1, 2020 at 9 a.m., six days after the star’s death, the samples of liver, kidney, DNA cards and the entire heart, which had been extracted in the autopsy, were transferred to La Plata to be studied and put into conservation. Little was known about an operation that involved Criminal Intelligence, Scientific Police, Firemen and more than 50 members of the Buenos Aires Police, which was mounted to avoid the possible kidnapping of the heart by the “barra brava” of Gimnasia y Esgrima de La Plata. Maradona was buried without his heart, which became Diego’s most precious symbol on Earth for the fans,” said Lombardero.

This would not be a novelty in Argentina. Three-time president Juan Domingo Perón had his hands stolen 13 years after his death. It happened in 1987, a group that demanded eight million dollars “ransom” for the hands entered the vault in La Chacarita cemetery and took the hands. Thirty-four years later, Argentine justice is still unable to establish what happened. The hands were never found.

The autopsy confirmed that Maradona’s heart weighed 500 grams, almost double the normal weight, a consequence of a life of excesses and on the edge. Maradona’s heart is kept and guarded by court order, as it is valuable evidence for the trial that should elucidate the reasons for his death.