Lionel Messi and Argetina team pay tribute to Diego Maradona, unveil statue at Santiago del Estero


Argentina's Lionel Messi takes a picture of late Argentine football star Diego Armando Maradona on his jersey before the start of the South American qualification football match for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 against Chile at the Estadio Unico Madre de Ciudades stadium in Santiago del Estero, Argentina, on June 3, 2021.

Lionel Messi was among the Argentina players and coaches who paid tribute to Diego Maradona in a statue unveiling ceremony before their World Cup qualifier on Thursday against Chile.

Maradona died on 25 November in Buenos Aires after cardiac arrest. He was 60.

Days later, Messi paid his respects by celebrating a goal for Barcelona with the shirt of Argentine club Newell’s Old Boys, where the 1986 World Cup winner had also played.

Argentina's last official match took place weeks before Maradona died.

Messi, his teammates and coach Lionel Scaloni watched the unveiling of a bronze statue of the football great at the Único Madres de Ciudades stadium, in Santiago del Estero.

The statue depicts a defiant Maradona, hand on his waist and a ball at his feet. An inscription on it reads "Diego Maradona, 1960-2020” and a symbol representing infinity.

Later players also entered their match against Chile wearing a shirt featuring Maradona.

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