With the shocking news of the demise of football legend Diego Maradona trickling through on Wednesday night, Kerala is reminiscing the time when the Argentinian star paid a visit to the state. On October 24, 2012, the legend made his appearance and enthralled thousands of football fans. A packed stadium of 50,000 people in Kerala’s Kannur district, were enchanted as the football legend danced, sang and even exhibited some of his football moves. Maradona had come to Kerala as part of his two-day visit for the inauguration of a showroom of Boby Chemmanur International Jewellers and Airlines.
The event was one of a kind in Kerala. Thousands of football fans from across the state, many wearing Argentina’s jersey, had thronged to the Kannur Municipal stadium hours before Maradona’s visit, to ensure they would get a glimpse of the legend. And Maradona didn’t disappoint his ardent fans as he appeared and spent nearly 30 minutes with them. “I love Kerala,” he declared in between showering his fans with flying kisses.
He shared the stage with Bobby Chemmanur, former Indian football player IM Vijayan, Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, who was the then Home Minister, and several other legislators of the state.
Maradona also celebrated his birthday, which came later that month, in the stadium. He cut a 30 kg cake in the shape of a football field with a football in the middle.
Watch full video of Maradona's Kerala visit:
Many took to social media sharing photos and videos of the legendary football player’s visit to the state, after news of his demise.
When Maradona landed in Kerala in 2012. #Maradona is a house hold name in the state, which has a crazy admiration for the Argentina football team. Like most kids, I too grew up hearing legendary tales about him. Part of my childhood feels dead today.#RIPDiego pic.twitter.com/Nh2oDqpBZx— Manu Sebastian (@manuvichar) November 25, 2020
The 60-year-old Maradona passed away on Wednesday reportedly due to a heart attack. He had recently undergone a surgery to remove a clot in the brain.