Cigars, cars and a villa: Maradona auction offers fans 'souvenirs' of late star

Interior view of a house owned by the late Argentine soccer legend Diego Armando Maradona, which will be auctioned among other things, in Buenos Aires, Argentina December 14, 2021. REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Diego Maradona's fans will have a chance to snap up memorabilia from the soccer star in an auction on Sunday, just over a year after his death, which will include his iconic cigars, a pair of BMW cars and a luxury villa that Maradona bought his parents.

The "10 auction," a reference to his jersey number with Argentina, which he led to World Cup triumph in 1986, is being held by his family to raise funds while legal questions over the distribution of the player's assets are resolved.

Maradona, widely recognized as one of the greater soccer players of all time, led a colorful and contentious life, which gained him a huge following of ardent fans but also saw him battle drug and alcohol addiction, along with ill health.

"The five children (recognized children of Maradona) through their lawyers agreed and it was possible to carry out this event in order to raise money. This is only to pay expenses," Adrian Mercado, head of the auction house, told Reuters. "There are many, many thing with nostalgic value."

The online auction will take place Sunday at 11 a.m. local time (0800 GMT). Maradona died on Nov. 25 last year at the age of 60 due to cardiac arrest, after suffering several health problems and having previously undergone cranial surgery.

Among the most expensive goods to be auctioned is a house from the 1980s that Maradona gave to his parents in the Villa Devoto neighborhood of Argentina's capital, Buenos Aires. It will have a starting price of $900,000.

There are also a number of luxury cars, including a $225,000 BMW 750, which Maradona once drove onto a soccer pitch.

The 87 lots include lower-value items such as hats worn by Maradona, pictures of the star including one with late Cuban leader Fidel Castro, whom he befriended, soccer shoes and T-shirts, a signed guitar, gym equipment, and a box of cigars.

"Big fans of Diego, who I think will be the ones taking part, will be able to take something home as a souvenir, I have no doubt," said Mercado, who expects a high turnout.

"I estimate that at least 10,000, 15,000, or even 20,000 people will see the event. Probably many more," he added. "I hope it's something out of the ordinary, like all the things that Diego showed us in his life

(Reporting by Lucial Sigal; Editing by Adam Jourdan and Leslie Adler)

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