The Argentine soccer player, who died at the age of 60, has proudly expressed his support for Palestine several times.
As the world mourns the legendary soccer player Diego Maradona, many people also pay tribute to his support for the Palestinian cause.
The former Argentine player and world champion died on Wednesday at the age of only 60 of a heart attack after years of health problems.
His death came two weeks after he was released from hospital in Buenos Aires after brain surgery.
Maradona has been hailed as an anti-imperialist left socialist who supported progressive movements.
His friends included the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, Cuba’s late President Fidel Castro, and Bolivia’s Evo Morales.
He has been seen in an anti-George Bush shirt with Chavez on more than one occasion.
He supported Palestine without apology even after hanging up his football boots.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri has offered condolences to Maradona’s family and fans around the world.
“We are so sad about the death of one of the greatest footballers, ‘Maradona’, who is known for his support for the # Palestine cause,” he wrote.
We are so sad to see the death of one of the greatest footballers, “Maradona”, who is known for his support of the # Palestine cause.
Our condolences to his family and lovers around the world. # Maradona pic.twitter.com/BHDs7ajkwg
– DR.SAMI ABU ZUHRI (@SamiZuhri) November 26, 2020
In 2012, Maradona described himself as “the number one fan of the Palestinian people”.
“I respect them and sympathize with them,” he said. “I support Palestine without fear.”
Two years later, during Israel’s summer offensive in the besieged Gaza Strip, in which at least 3,000 Palestinians were killed, Maradona expressed indignation and criticized Israel.
“What Israel is doing to the Palestinians is shameful,” he said in a statement.
“In my heart I am a Palestinian.”
RIP Diego Armando Maradona.
In our hearts we were all Argentinians, mimicking your dribbling and goals in the neighborhoods of Palestine. I am safe like other children all over the world. pic.twitter.com/6NU3PNeL2r
– Salem Barahmeh (@Barahmeh) November 25, 2020
A year later it was reported that Maradona was negotiating with the Palestinian Football Association about the possibility of coaching the Palestinian national team during the 2015 AFC Asian Cup.
In July 2018, he met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during a brief meeting in Moscow and reaffirmed his longstanding support for Palestinians.
“I am a Palestinian in my heart,” he said to Abbas as he hugged him in a clip uploaded to his Instagram page.
#Maradona to Abbas “I am also a Palestinian” 🤣🤣🤣 # palesine #worldcup #WorldCupFinal #FRACRO #FRE #CRO # فلسطين pic.twitter.com/TflI0G0W88
– 👽 (@ Blaugrana_86) July 15, 2018
That same year, Maradona gave his views on the US role in Syria, which was in the seventh year of civil war, when President Bashar al-Assad consolidated his control over the majority of the country.
“You don’t have to go to university to know that the United States wants to put Syria out of life,” he said.
Maradona: “You don’t have to go to university to know that the US wants to wipe out Syria.”
The quote # r4today will be removed from her obituary this morning.pic.twitter.com/fHHpYUK2WH
– James James (@ Tingaling007) November 26, 2020