At 10 p.m. sharp this Wednesday, November 25, it is not for caregivers that Argentina applauded. In the capital, Buenos Aires, as in the rest of the country, on the balconies, from the windows, on the doorsteps, from the cars, all over the capital, the hands clacked, the horns sounded and the eyes shook. filled with tears. For Diego.
Distraught since the news of Maradona’s death by the media at the beginning of the afternoon, Argentina sought to prolong its last breath until the end of the night and to sing its eternal gratitude to the sky, of Boca Juniors’ lair at the foot of the obelisk, the Mecca of football celebrations. “I needed to be there, not to stay at home. Pay him a last tribute because, tomorrow, with the pandemic, it will be dangerous at Casa Rosada, ”admits Gabriel, in tears, national flag worn in a cape. Before explaining: “Messi is the Argentine we would like to be, talented, orderly. Diego is the Argentine that we are. He represents 85% of us. ”
After a night when the smell of alcohol mixed sadness and euphoria, the last farewell to the one who fell into legend during this quarter-final against the English has finally begun. At 6:30 a.m., after the family had gathered in privacy, the Casa Rosada, the presidential palace, opened its doors to the public. Before Diego, only the funeral wakes of Fangio (1995) and Néstor Kirchner (2010) had taken place in the seat of the Argentine executive.
Several thousand people in an electric atmosphere
There were many, several thousand, waiting for hours, singing, on the very emblematic Place de Mai. The atmosphere was electric, similar to that of the surroundings of a football stadium. The supporters had also lost none of their reflexes and their codes despite months of stadium abstinence. Quickly, the device, light, set up to avoid crowds and ensure access by small groups took water. Those in the front line of a long line broke through the barriers set up around Place de Mai and on the avenue leading to the government building. A crowd rushed them towards the television cameras. Some even tried to climb the gates of the Casa Rosada. The episode, brought under control, could have been more serious but, despite their condition, fans finally returned to the path of patience.
Since then, an astonishing atmosphere reigns on this place where the greatest dramas as the greatest triumphs of the country have taken place. The long line imposed by the security barriers gives the air of pilgrimage to this sunny day. The admirers, moved to tears for the most part, sing a little less and advance religiously in a place of power whose corridors are rarely accessible to them.
In turn, they pass in front of the coffin of their idol where the Argentinian flag is placed and jerseys of Boca Juniors, his club of hearts, and of the Albiceleste. Some throw flowers, others cross themselves or talk to him, before withdrawing. The contrast is striking with the atmosphere of a night that seemed eternal, but which was able to be as moving as it was festive, like the one to whom it paid homage.