Maradona death: Football icon’s funeral takes place amid clashes in Argentina

Diego Maradona’s funeral sparked violent clashes in Argentina, after thousands of football fans were unable to get a glimpse of their hero’s coffin.

Tens of thousands of people managed to pay their respects to Maradona on Thursday as his body laid in state in the Argentinian capital of Buenos Aires, before viewing was cut short at 6pm local time by the family, who wanted his body to be taken away for burial.

The football icon, who underwent surgery for a subdural haematoma a few weeks ago, died of a heart attack aged 60 at his home in Buenos Aires on Wednesday.

Fans had gathered across the city, adorned in flags and strips and belting football songs, in the hope of being able to pay their respects to Maradona.

However, people in the capital had grown impatient at being unable to see the casket, and threw bottles, bricks and metal fencing at riot police, who responded with tear gas and rubber bullets.

As a result of the injuries and arrests, organisers opted to cut public viewing short and the casket was driven to a cemetery outside the capital, followed by hundreds of vehicles.

Fans had been waiting for hours to see the casket during the public viewing hours, which began at 6.15am after the family’s private service.

Family members, including his ex-wives and daughters all paid their respects to Maradona early on Thursday, with his teammates from the 1986 World Cup winning squad also visiting.

Other footballers from across Argentina also paid their respects, including former Manchester United player Carlos Tevez.

President Alberto Fernandez also paid his respects, and at midday laid an Argentinos Juniors shirt on the casket – the team where Maradona began his career.

The first member of the public to view the casket was Nahuel de Lima, 30, who said: “He made Argentina be recognized all over the world, who speaks of Maradona also speaks of Argentina.

“Diego is the people… Today the shirts, the political flags don’t matter. We came to say goodbye to a great that gave us a lot of joy.”

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