Maradona dies at 60: When Argentine legend landed in Kolkata to play charity football match vs Sourav Ganguly – India Today

Kolkata News

Diego Maradona, the Argentine soccer great who was among the best players ever passed away on Wednesday. Famed for the ‘Hand of God’ goal, Maradona captivated fans over a two-decade career with a bewitching style of play that was all his own.

West Bengal in general, and Kolkata in particular, is known to be the hotbed of Indian football, with the country’s most die-hard football fans representing their city with great pride and fervor. Apart from the fanatical following enjoyed by arch-rivals East Bengal and Mohun Bagan, the city of Kolkata lives and breathes football, and teams across the world are supported fervently.

“DEIGO vs DADA Match for Unity”

We recall the day when Maradona finally kept his date with the football-frenzied city of Kolkata and arrived in India on December 11, 2017. Maradona graced the much-hyped ‘Diego versus Dada’ exhibition match, but he skipped the charity football match — Match for Unity — due to an injury to his right hand. However, the legendary footballer spent time with school children, who were all seen donning the famous No. 10 jerseys.

Former India cricket captain Sourav Ganguly took part in the 40-minute exhibition match and said it was a “treat” to watch the Argentine great from close quarters.

“It would have been great had Maradona played. He had an injury, so he could not play. He is too good a player. Age has caught up with him now, but even then watching him from close quarters is a treat,” Ganguly told reporters after the match.

I am here for football: Maradona in 2017

Maradona, who had attended a football workshop earlier in the day, shook hands with the players and kicked off the match.

Former India footballers Shyam Thapa, Prasun Banerjee, Dipendu Biswas, Sisir Ghosh, Biswajit Bhattacharya, Alvito D’Cunha were among those who took part in the match along with Bengal cricket captain Manoj Tiwary and fast bowler Shib Shankar Paul.

“I’m here for football. It is a big step, that we take with the minister — to uplift football in India,” Maradona said.

“India really has good players and a football school with boys. Your minister and I must stop this notion that football wants India and India wants football. Together with the minister and the people we will bring a football. I have always been very well received in India. Thanks and kisses!” Maradona added.