The Argentine’s late icon was honoured with a statue outside the sparkling new Madre de Ciudades Stadiumprior on Thursday, just before the kick-off of Argentina’s World Cup qualifier against Chile.
Maradona's death due to a heart failure on November 25, 2020, hugely affected the football universe, and many players among the world, as well as Lionel Messi, paid their tribute to the football legend.
However, Argentina were held to a 1-1 draw on their ‘special occasion’ and their captain, who opened the scoring for his side in the 24th-minute, admits his country failed to honor Maradona with a victory over their rivals.
"It was a very special match because it was the first without Diego," Messi said after the match.
"We know what the national team meant to him, even if he wasn't in the stadium, he was always there.
"For being the first without him and because of everything that is happening in the country and in the world. It is also a pity that there was no public.
"We wanted to give Diego the victory and represent the national team as he always did, leaving everything behind, but we have to continue."
Alexis Sanchez scored the equalizer in the 36th-minute as Messi’s brilliant performance couldn’t help Argentina win the game.
"It has been a long time since we got together, it is not easy to get back together with little work," said Messi, whose Argentina are 12 games unbeaten as they gear up for the Copa America, which is scheduled to start on June 13. "We continued what we had been doing, at times we were good, we played a good game.
"We were good in pressure and recovery, they practically did not create situations If it hadn't been for the stopped ball, they were hardly reaching us. It was a difficult game, as always with Chile."