The late Diego Maradona was often dubbed the “God of Football”. It is not surprising that then a number of churches have appeared that have glorified the name of the legendary Argentine footballer, and included the fragrance of his name. In Mexico, a number of devotees of Maradona also recently inaugurated the country’s first Maradona Church.
At the first Maradona Church in San Andres Cholula, Mexico, photographs of the Argentine soccer star adorn the walls of the building.
The huge screens installed inside the church play video clips of the Argentine footballer who was once one of the world’s best players and who led his country to the 1986 World Cup title, before falling into cocaine use and becoming obese.
This church is not the first church in the world to glorify the name of Maradona. The first Maradona church was founded in Rosario, a city north of Buenos Aires, by Hernan Amez and Alejandro Veron in 1998. However, this church is the first church of its kind in Mexico, and it is not impossible to be the forerunner of the emergence of other churches that founded by fans of the late Maradona.
Marcelo Buchet is one of the founders of the Maradona Church of Mexico. He said most Argentines regard Maradona as the god of Argentine football.
“I believe all Argentines liked Maradona. Maybe there were only one or two people who didn’t like Maradona. Maradona in his time gave us a lot of identity. Before Maradona, when it comes to Argentina, people generally talk about Saint Martin or the Falkland War. then, since 1986, Maradona created a proud identity for Argentines. There is a lot of pride in being Argentine.”
The congregation of Maradona Church honors June 22, 1986 as the church’s Easter Day. That day was a historic day for the Argentinean people because Maradona managed to score against England in the World Cup quarter-finals through his controversial game dubbed “the Hand of God”. final with a score of 3-2.
Buchet himself moved to Mexico 20 years ago. The first time he expressed the idea of establishing the church was to Maradona himself, when the two of them met when Maradona coached the Dorados Football team at Culiacan Sinaloa in 2018.
“When he came, my family and I had the opportunity to be with him. When I told him I wanted to make the Maradona Church, he said, ‘do it’. He told me that if I wanted to do it, just do it, not just talk about it.” he explained.
The idea had been buried for three years because of various misfortunes that befell his family and also the death of his idol.
“Last year my sister died, my mother died, my best friend died and Maradona died on my daughter’s birthday. The next day I started turning this restaurant into a church and said ‘I’m going to make a church’, I don’t care what happened. ”
Marcelo Buchet initially thought there would be strong opposition for labeling the place of worship he founded as a church. However, he said so far the reception has been positive.
There were more than 1,000 visitors in its first week of opening, and 80 percent of them were women.
An administrator for the Maradona Church in Argentina, Marcela Amez, warned that many members of the church may not really think of the Maradona Church as a church. But Buchet disagrees, saying, the church members are well aware of their demigod’s weakness.
Maradona once struggled with drug addiction and obesity. He has also been expelled from a World Cup match for being found guilty of doping. Maradona has also been sentenced to prison for firing an air rifle at journalists.
Raul Martinez, a visitor to Maradona Church in Mexico, said, “I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to see this church, to find out what it contained, to find out if it had some of Diego Maradona’s belongings. I was surprised to learn that they had a signed jersey. by Maradona.” [ab/uh]