The former Argentine FIFA World Cup captain Diego Maradona was in Kolkata for a three-day visit. The football icon had received an awe-inspiring welcome as thousands of fans gathered near the Dum Dum airport to greet him.
In this particular visit, Diego was expected to play a charity football match against Kolkata’s greatest cricketing son Sourav Ganguly. The match was scheduled to take place in Barasat on Tuesday (December 12). However, Maradona skipped the much-hyped 'Diego versus Dada' exhibition match, which left Ganguly disappointed.
A poorly-organized show meant that the 57-year-old became tired on an unexpected humid December afternoon and left after just kicking off the match and exchanging pleasantries with Ganguly and his team.
"It would have been great to have played with him but he could not play," Ganguly was quoted by PTI as saying.
"Age has caught up with him but he's too good a player. I'm a huge, huge fan of his, I have seen him win the World Cup in 1986. It was a treat to see him from close quarters," he further added.
On his last visit back in 2008, Maradona was ferried by a chopper to Maheshtala. However, this time he has to go through a rough 35-km ride on a potholed road to an isolated place called Kadambgachi.
When the 40-minute match was about to start, Diego was left with a very little energy. He, however, lined up both the teams and kick-started the proceedings.
Initially, the football legend was scheduled to arrive in the ‘City of Joy’ on September 19 – on the day of Mahalaya to kickstart the auspicious Durga Puja festival. Diego was programmed to unveil his statue apart from inaugurating a north Kolkata pandal. However, the schedule was altered a bit and now he will lay the foundation of his statue yesterday.