Maradona was "the greatest of them all," says Argentine president


BUENOS AIRES, Nov. 25 (Xinhua) -- Football legend Diego Armando Maradona was "the greatest of them all," Argentine President Alberto Fernandez said on Wednesday, following the sports figure's death earlier in the day.

"You took us to the world's peak. You made us immensely happy. You were the greatest of them all. Thank you for having existed, Diego. We are going to miss you forever," the president said via Twitter.

In an interview with local sports channel TyC Sports, in Buenos Aires, Fernandez also remembered Maradona, whom he met on several occasions, as "an absolutely genuine man, who expressed everything with the same strength with which he played football."

"He is going to be an indelible person in the collective memory. He is a huge idol, a huge character that the collective memory will keep forever," said Argentina's president.

Asked if the government has any plans to hold a state funeral, Fernandez said he asked his aides to "talk to Maradona's family" to discuss the possibility.

"All the doors of the state are open for Diego," he said.

Fernandez is a fan of the Argentinos Juniors football club, in which Maradona made his debut as a professional soccer player in 1976, and where he played until 1980.

In statements to the daily Clarin, the president said he was working with the chief of the cabinet of ministers, Santiago Cafiero, when he learned of Maradona's death.

"I cannot believe it. I am devastated. It is the worst news that a fan of Argentinos Juniors can receive. We love him," he said.

Maradona died of cardiorespiratory arrest at his home on the northern outskirts of the capital Buenos Aires.

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