Soccer-Maradona's former home opens doors for fan fest during Argentina's World Cup games


FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Doha, Qatar - November 25, 2022 An Argentina fan holds up his drum showing an image of former player Diego Maradona on the Doha Corniche REUTERS/Lee Smith

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - The new owners of a house Diego Maradona once bought for his parents in Buenos Aires have been staging events in the premises so that Argentine fans can celebrate the national team's triumphs at the World Cup in Qatar.

Hundreds of kilos of Argentine meat, drink bars, and a DJ spinning Maradona-inspired music accompanied the first two editions of the fan fests organised during the victories over Poland in the group stage and Australia in the last 16, and which promise to continue on Friday against the Netherlands in the quarter-finals.

On giant screens in the hall and the back garden with a swimming pool, fans of the team led by Lionel Messi followed the matches, celebrated goals and sang the same songs that accompany the "albiceleste" in Qatar.

The gatherings in the quiet Villa Devoto neighbourhood of Buenos Aires, which are unannounced to avoid crowds, are being held at the house the football great gave his parents and lived in the 1980s.

After Maradona died in 2020, the heirs sold the house through an auction and the new owners set out to turn it into a museum of the football icon, despite rumours of demolition that unsettled Argentina.

"It's a privilege to be in such an emblematic place, I feel honoured," one of the owners, who asked not to reveal his identity, told Reuters. "We want everyone to be able to get to know this temple."

At the World Cup matches, it is possible to walk through the different rooms, climb the marble staircase and sit on the balconies overlooking the garden.

From one of the windows overlooking Jose Luis Cantillo Street, the current owners say that Maradona greeted the fans after leading Argentina to the World Cup title in Mexico in 1986.

"I hope we keep winning and having these parties that Diego would have liked. We won't stop until the World Cup final (in Qatar)," said one of the event's organisers.

(Reporting by Ramiro Scandolo in Buenos Aires, Writing by Janina Nuno Rios)

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