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