Maradona and modesty don’t sit well together but the Argentine legend called himself a ‘simple footballer’ and not the god of football as his admirers watched, joyfully transfixed, his hand at self-deprecation, in Kolkata on Monday.
“I am not god of football but a simple footballer. I’m happy to be here in Kolkata again,” Maradona said through his interpreter. His second visit in nine years may have been a low-key one unlike in 2008, but the legend still charmed about a thousand-odd crowd at a charity event in a north Kolkata club this afternoon.
Maradona handed out cheques worth Rs 10,000 each to 11 cancer patients and flagged off an air-conditioned ambulance.
The club, which is famous for its lavish Durga Puja celebrations, was packed to the brim. Many were seen standing on rooftops of the adjoining buildings, making it an electrifying atmosphere. He unveiled a 12-feet statue of him holding aloft the 1986 World Cup trophy and it would be erected at a park named after name.
“It’s amazing to have my statue here,” the 1986 World Cup winner said.
Earlier, an audio-visual of the Argentine legend greeted him at the venue as Maradona arrived with his girlfriend. Maradona was presented with a traditional scarf on stage and a gold bracelet by the organisers.
The Argentine was originally slated to arrive on September 19, but the trip got postponed several times. Maradona will take on cricket icon Sourav Ganguly in an exhibition match titled ‘Diego vs Dada’ in Barasat, about 35kms from the city.