Kolkata:Soccer legend Diego Armando Maradona on Saturday said he was surprised by the response of the crazy fans who thronged in thousands to have a glimpse of him as he laid the foundation stone of a football school at Maheshtala in South 24 Parganas district.
Blowing kisses in the air and waving to the crowd, the 48-year-old Argentine, dressed in a grey shirt and matching trouser, said he had not anticipated that his two-day visit would evoke such a huge response.
"I had no idea that football enjoyed so much fan following in this part of the world far from my home in South America," the soccer star said.
"My country is far from here, but I never knew I have so many fans here," he said as the crowd kept shouting 'Diego, Diego'.
The the soccer icon spoke to reporters for just two minutes in Spanish with the help of an interpreter.
The Indian Football School is being developed by the Maheshtala Municipality in collaboration with a private company.
Maradona, who led Argentina to World Cup triumph in 1986, had flown into the eastern metropolis in the wee hours today to a tumultuous welcome.
In a cheerful mood, with girl friend Veronica by his side, the legend signed autographs for children and shook hands with fans.