Soccer legend Diego Maradona declared himself a fan of leftist President Hugo Chavez when he arrived in Venezuela on Monday to inaugurate a South American youth championship.
"Long live Chavez, long live the Revolution," Argentina's former World Cup winning captain told a news conference in the western oil city of Maracaibo.
"I'm a revolutionary," he said, displaying a tattoo on his arm of legendary Argentine guerrilla Ernesto "Che" Guevara.
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Maradona, also an admirer of Cuban President Fidel Castro, said he planned to meet Chavez on Tuesday when the Venezuelan leader hosts a meeting in the south east of the country with visiting Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and the presidents of Brazil and Colombia, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Alvaro Uribe.
Asked if he would accept a soccer coaching job in Venezuela if it was offered, Maradona said he would be "delighted." (Reuters, "Maradona in Venezuela, Says He's a Chavez Fan," 29 Mar. 2005)
Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona shows a tattoo of Latin-American rebel Che Guevara during a press conference in Maracaibo, March 28, 2005 (Christian Veron/Reuters).
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
Maradona Loves Chávez!
Diego Maradona, who has lived in Cuba since 2000, says he loves Hugo Chávez and would be "delighted" to teach soccer in Venezuela!