Argentina paid tribute to football legend Diego Maradona on Thursday, a year after he died of a heart attack aged 60.
“Today marks one year since your departure. Your indelible memory will always remain in the hearts of Argentines. We miss you, Diego,” the Argentine Football Association said on Twitter.
Boca Juniors, the club where Maradona played in 1981-82 and again from 1995 to 1997, released a video showing highlights of the idol along with the words: “You never left us, you are in the heart of every fan.”
Current Argentina national team captain Lionel Messi published a photograph of himself wearing an Albiceleste shirt with an image of Maradona on his chest. The Instagram post was accompanied by the words, “Eternal Diego”.
“It seems like only yesterday and I have a strange feeling,” Messi said later in an interview with Spanish newspaper Marca. “It’s incredible that a year has already passed and it also seems like fate that just when he is not here Argentina are champions [of the Copa America] after so many years [without a trophy].”
Maradona’s death came less than a month after he underwent surgery to remove a blood clot on his brain in Buenos Aires. Several health professionals are facing criminal charges for alleged negligence in his treatment and care.
The former star’s eldest daughter, Dalma, marked the one-year anniversary of his passing by telling her 1.7 million Instagram followers that “justice is all I ask for.”
“The world has been more horrible for a year because you are not here,” she said.
The 1986 World Cup winner’s family gathered at a church in Garin, near Buenos Aires, for a mass in his memory on Thursday morning.
“We do not come to celebrate death, we come to celebrate life, the life that Diego left us, the life that Diego gave us, and the life that Diego lives in his presence,” Father Adrian Guedes said during the ceremony.
Maradona’s youngest son, Diego Fernando, visited his father’s grave at a cemetery in the northern Buenos Aires neighborhood of Jardin de Bella Vista accompanied by his mother, Veronica Ojeda.
“We came so that little Diego can visit his dad,” Ojeda told reporters.
Argentine football fans gathered at several sites around the country to remember the former Boca Juniors, Barcelona and Napoli icon, including La Bombonera stadium, the home of his beloved Boca.
Officials said that tributes were planned for this weekend’s matches in the Primera Division, the country’s top football league.