Maradona to visit Kolkata in December

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Having played host to Pele and Oliver Kahn, the city is now gearing up to receive legend Diego Maradona who will arrive in the first week of December.

Updated: November 05, 2008 12:11 IST
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Having played host to Pele and Oliver Kahn, the city is now gearing up to receive Argentine legend Diego Maradona who will be here on a two-day trip in the first week of December.

During his stay, the newly appointed Argentina coach will inaugurate a venture, named Indian Football School at Maheshtala and will also visit the Mother House, the headquarters of the Missionaries of Charity.

The football great was approached jointly by city-based Celebrity Management Group and Eden City in Maheshtala.

With Maradona's estranged wife Claudia acting as facilitator, CPI(M) MP Samik Lahiri met the 1986 World Cup winner at his residence in Buenos Aires.

"Following email exchanges routed through Claudia, Maradona agreed to meet us at his residence," Lahiri said.

"As a die-hard football fan, I thought upon this idea and finally it materialised on that fine day of November 1. We called on at his new residence. We found him very cordial and humble. He was looking fit and I found him to be like the Maradona of 1986.

"He is very keen to visit Kolkata for two reasons - to promote football and visit Mother House. He spent more than one hour with us and signed a deal to visit Kolkata. We are really touched by his gesture," Lahiri, who led a two-member team, said.

Lahiri added that a team from CMG is currently in Argentina to finalise details of Maradona's itinerary. "The exact dates of his arrival and the programme will be known by Friday. This is the first time he is coming to Asia... So it's really an honour for us," Lahiri said.

On September 25, 1977, Eden Gardens played host to the legendary Pele, travelling with New York Cosmos, in a match against Mohun Bagan.

The Brazilian icon, was accompanied by the likes Giorgio Chinaglia and Carlos Alberto during the trip.

Mohun Bagan also had the honour of hosting Cameroon World Cupper Roger Milla, who came with Diamont Club to play a tournament as part of the club's centenary celebration in November 1990.

This year, on May 27, the city hosted the farewell match of Germany and Bayern Munich goalkeeper Oliver Kahn when over a lakh people turned out to witness the legend take to the field against Mohun Bagan.

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