Diego Maradona: World mourns Argentine football great

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People hug each other after the death of the Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona outside San Paolo stadium in Naples, ItalyImage source, Getty Images

The death of Argentine football great Diego Maradona prompted scenes of mourning around the world, with fans gathering to pay tribute to one of the greatest players of all time.

The World Cup winner, a national hero in his home country, died following a heart attack on Wednesday at the age of 60.

Image source, Getty Images

Three days of national mourning have begun in Argentina, where swarms of fans chanted Maradona's name shortly after his death was announced.

"I can't believe it," one fan, Francisco Salaverry, told the AFP news agency. "It's incredible. Everyone ends up being mortal. It feels like a bad dream."

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Fans searching for a place to grieve gravitated towards the Obelisk landmark in the centre of Buenos Aires. Hundreds wore the famous blue-and-white national colours of Argentina.

Many of those who gathered were in tears. "Few times in my life have I felt the pain that invades me today," one lifelong fan, Mauricio Passadore, wrote on social media.

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A match between Sport Club Internacional and Maradona's former club Boca Juniors was postponed on Wednesday.

And in the capital, "Gracias Diego" replaced train information on digital signs while fans in the suburbs sang football songs.

Image source, Reuters

At the Diego Maradona stadium, home to the Argentinos Juniors club where he played as a child and later made his professional debut, fireworks were launched and music was played.

Here, fans of the club cheer Maradona's name outside the stadium.

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Maradona was captain when Argentina won the 1986 World Cup, scoring the famous "Hand of God" goal against England in the quarter-finals.

The iconic sporting moment saw England's goalkeeper rush to punch the ball clear, but Maradona jumped and used his hand to touch it into the empty net. The referee failed to spot the handball, triggering angry protests from the English players.

An image of that goal is depicted in murals both in Argentina and abroad, and artworks of the player quickly became focal points for fans to pay their respects.

This mural is in the Italian city of Naples, where Maradona scored 81 goals in 188 appearances and became a club legend.

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His Italian fans also gathered outside Napoli's San Paolo stadium, where candles were lit and flags were placed around the entrance.

"Always in our hearts. Ciao Diego," the club wrote on Twitter.

Image source, Reuters

Hundreds of fans gathered in the streets of the city's Spanish Quarters. "In Naples, he's a king," one woman told RaiNews24.

"Diego made our people dream, he redeemed Naples with his genius," the city's Mayor Luigi De Magistris said.

He also called for Napoli's stadium to be renamed after Maradona, who he described as "the greatest footballer of all time".

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There were tributes outside Argentina and Italy, too.

A minute's silence took place before Wednesday's Champions League matches, but similar acts of remembrance were held in other countries and at all levels of the sport.

Here, youth players in the Indian city of Secunderabad hold their own minute's silence for Maradona.

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