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“That’s what Diego would have wanted”

ARGENTINA fans have launched a bizarre campaign to carry Diego Maradona’s heart to the World Cup.

It would mean removing the football legend’s organ from a police lab so it could travel with the team.

Maradona led Argentina to the 1986 World Cup

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Maradona led Argentina to the 1986 World CupPhoto credit: Getty

Advertising agency boss Javier Mentasti outlined the idea on an Argentine radio station.

He said: “I’m sure that’s what Diego would have wanted. If we could ask him, he would say: ‘Do it.’

“It could take the team bus to the players’ hotel.

“I can imagine a procession on the day the team leaves for Qatar, with people accompanying the bus and the convoy that gathers at the airport before the players take off.”

He added: “It could also serve as an initiative to promote organ donation. Taking Diego’s heart to the World Cup, which will be Messi’s last, could be very interesting. It’s a dream.”

Maradona died on November 25, 2020 at the age of 60 and was buried without his ailing heart.

It was later found to have been stored in formaldehyde at a police lab in La Plata, south of Buenos Aires.

Officials said the organ was removed so that further tests could be conducted as part of an ongoing investigation into his death, which is expected to lead to the trial of several suspects, including Maradona’s doctor Leopoldo Luque.

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Doctor and writer Nelson Castro claimed last year the former Napoli and Barcelona star was also buried without his heart to prevent fans from stealing it.

He said on an Argentine TV show that a group of football hooligans from Gimnasia y Esgrima, the La Plata-based club that Diego managed after his death, planned to take him on during his transfer.

The organ weighed 503 grams, almost twice as much as a normal heart for a man Maradona’s age.

Argentina football bosses have yet to respond to the campaign.

But Cesar Perez, owner of one of the properties where Diego lived and which has now been turned into a museum, said: “We identify with this initiative.

“What could be better than making Diego’s heart travel to Qatar so that players and football lovers can in some way feel that he is close to him!”

Maradona died in a rented house near Buenos Aires while recovering from brain blood clot surgery.

He died in his sleep from heart failure that caused pulmonary edema.

Subsequent blood and urine tests showed that he had no traces of alcohol or illegal drugs in his blood and urine when he died, but was suffering from serious heart, liver and kidney problems.

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They also showed off a cocktail of prescription drugs, including quetiapine, venlafaxine and levetiracetam, which are used to treat depression, panic attacks and epilepsy, among others.

The criminal investigation launched shortly after Maradona was found was initially classified as a manslaughter investigation.

It was ruled a murder investigation after a damning report from a medical board concluded that Maradona’s care team had acted “insufficiently, deficiently and recklessly”.

Earlier this month, prosecutors were reportedly close to requesting the trial of seven suspects at the center of a long-running investigation.

In addition to Luque, Diego’s psychiatrist Agustina Cosachov is one of them.

https://www.the-sun.com/sport/football/premier-league/4964471/diego-maradona-argentina-heart-world-cup/ “That’s what Diego would have wanted”

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