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Maradona wanted to be embalmed and put on show, friend says

A soccer fan holds an Argentine flag with the face of late Argentine soccer legend Diego Armando Maradona painted on it during a tribute to him the day after his death, in Barcelona, Spain, November 26, 2020. REUTERS/Nacho Doce

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Few people had the power to say no to Diego Maradona in life but his family appear to have put their foot down on an unusual last request.

Maradona, who died from a heart attack on Wednesday aged 60, told friends during the coronavirus lockdown that when he died he wanted to be embalmed and put on show for fans, according to Martin Arevalo, a journalist who was close to the former Argentina captain.

“When the idea of a statue first came up he said: ‘No, I want them to embalm me’,” Arevalo told TyC sports.

Arevalo, one of the few reporters who enjoyed Maradona’s confidence, confirmed the details of the footballer’s wishes to Reuters, adding that Maradona wanted “to remain with us forever”.

Two other legends of Argentina’s modern history, President Juan Peron and his wife Eva Peron, were embalmed.

One of the people present when Maradona proposed the idea was his lawyer Matias Morla, who suggested the former Napoli and Boca Juniors forward formalise his request with a notary, something he did on Oct. 13, Argentine media reported.

Morla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The family, however, were set to bury Maradona alongside his parents at a cemetery on the outskirts of Buenos Aires.

Tens of thousands of people lined up to say a final farewell to Maradona’s coffin at the presidential palace on Thursday, with the huge crowds causing disorder and clashes with police.

Reporting by Ramiro Scandolo, writing by Andrew Downie, editing by Ed Osmond