Maradona enthralls Kolkata crowd, shows his dribbling skills; Sourav Ganguly joins the party - See photos

Maradona was visibly ecstatic and could not control his emotions and tried out his left-footers, enthralling about the 7000-odd crowd and also took a few shots

Argentina’s legendary footballer Diego Maradona is currently touring India to promote football in India. On December 12, he was seen showing some of his famous dribbling skills, his deft left-footed touches and even crooned Spanish songs as he mesmerised a bunch of school children during an event here today.

A football workshop was conducted at a private sports academy at Kadambagachi, Barasat, which was attended by 60 school children. The legendary footballer turned up in shorts and enjoyed every bit of it and the gruelling session literally drained him as he was seen drenched in sweat. But he didn’t complain.

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He spoke in front of a huge crowd which gathered to see the football wizard. He said,

“I’m here for football. It is a big step, that we take with the minister to uplift football in India.”

“India really has good players and a football school of boys. Your minister and I must stop this notion that football wants India and India wants football. Together with the minister and the people we will bring football. I have always been very well received in India. Thanks and kisses!” he signed off.

He went on to spend time with the school children. He clicked photographs with them and did not mind sitting on the pitch for that perfect frame. The Argentine football legend was seen shouting and making the ‘young guns’ make two queues as he played passes for them to shoot from the spot.

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Sporting Maradona’s No. 10 jersey, the boys and girls came one by one and tried out their skills. Even a few of them were seen dribbling past the 1986 World Cup hero.

Maradona was visibly ecstatic and could not control his emotions and tried out his left-footers, enthralling about the 7000-odd crowd and also took a few shots. The workshop began around 1.15pm with former footballers like Shyam Thapa, Debjit Ghosh, Sishir Ghosh among others as the area wore a festive look with flags of various nations adorning the streets.

Maradona entered about 10 minutes later as a shower of confetti welcomed the legend to the pitch. Wasting little time, he headed straight towards the packed galleries and wowed them by kicking some footballs up in the air.

Divided into three groups, the boys and girls waited patiently for their hero to come near them. But Maradona obliged them with much more and was seen completely involved in the session that went on for more than 30 minutes.

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After that, Maradona went inside the dugout and when everyone thought that it was over, he came out wearing a blue jersey this time. However, it was not about football but a crooning session.

Taking the microphone from Kochi-based Charles Anthony who was singing some Spanish songs, Maradona hummed a couple of songs, cheered on by the crowd. It was also a memorable occasion for Barasat people who had a glimpse of one of the greatest football icons of all time.

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“We all had been waiting for this event to take place for three months now. Our wish has finally fulfilled. I saw him doing the ‘Hand of God’ and he’s here in front of us. I can’t believe my eyes,” 58-year-old Jiten Chowdhury said watching the proceedings from the galleries with an umbrella.

In his second visit to Kolkata after 2008, Maradona was originally slated to arrive on September 19, on the auspicious Mahalaya day in the build-up to the Durga Puja festival but his trip was mired in several postponements.