Argentina has not won a World Cup since Maradona led them to glory in 1986.
Tributes from across the globe have poured in for Diego Maradona on what would have been his 62nd birthday on Sunday.
Maradona passed away in November 2020 at the age of 60 after suffering a heart attack.
With World Cup 2022 less than a month away, with Argentina as one of the favourites, the hopes of the nation are pinned on Lionel Messi, who will be hoping to lead the side to its first World Cup win since 1986, which belonged to Maradona.
Maradona scored five goals and five assists, leading Argentina to crowning glory and cementing his place in the pantheon of sporting greatness.
Among the tributes was a mural painted on a plane by Argentinian artist Maximiliano Bagnasco.
“Since he passed everybody started asking me to paint Diego. I painted the Maradona sanctuary at his club Argentinos Juniors and then I painted murals that became viral. Then I put on this exhibition of Diego images and media from all over the world covered it. Then I painted the airplane and everyone talked about it,” Bagnasco told Al Jazeera.
Bagnasco spoke of how people get emotional in front of the mural.
“I saw a lot of people crying in front of the mural because it’s so big. Just as Diego was.”
Maradona’s legacy has been built on his seminal World Cup performances for Argentina and the nation is expecting the same from Messi in Qatar.
“This is the first World Cup since Diego’s death. I think the team now looks strong. They’ve been winning and I think all of Argentina is waiting for Messi, who is our best player now. Everybody is obviously comparing him to Diego, to bring us the Cup. Or at least fight as Diego did,” said Bagnasco.
Argentina will launch its World Cup campaign against Saudi Arabia on November 22, followed by games against Mexico (November 26) and Poland (November 30).
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