Lionel Messi and Argentina pay tribute to Diego Maradona in first game since legend’s death

Maradona, an Argentine icon and widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time, died of heart failure in November last year.

In the fifth round of qualifying for the South American World Cup, Argentina and Chile drew 1-1 in Santiago del Estero, Argentina, with Alexis Sanchez’s goal canceling Lionel Messi’s penalty.

A 16ft 5in tall statue of football legend Diego Maradona is unveiled at Estadio Unico Madre de Ciudades.

“He [the match] is special because it was the first without Diego, “Messi told reporters after the game.

“It would have been nice if there had been people in the stadium to pay tribute to him, but what is happening in the country and in the world is complex. We wanted the victory and to represent the national team like Maradona did. before.”

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Leo Messi celebrates after scoring the first goal against Chile.

Before the kick-off, the national team and the president of the federation were present for the unveiling of the new statue of Maradona in front of the Estadio Unico Madre de Ciudades, where Chile and Argentina played on Thursday.

As the teams lined up on the pitch before the game, players wore images of Maradona on their shirts with the year of her birth – 1960 – and the infinity symbol in place of the year of her birth. dead.

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Chilean players celebrate Alexis Sanchez's equalizer.

The draw meant Argentina missed the opportunity to overtake Brazil at the top of the table, while Chile remain seventh.

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