By Ramiro Scandolo
BUENOS AIRES - Diego Maradona's family marked the first anniversary of his death on Thursday by revealing that one of his last wishes was for his remains to be left in a mausoleum where fans can pay homage to the former Argentina great.
The family said they had asked the government of Buenos Aires to help them with land to build a "Maradona Memorial" at the side of a river and close to nature.
"Today, one of your last wishes is starting to become reality," Maradona’s family wrote on his Instagram page, alongside the official request.
The letter said Maradona wanted a "place of eternal rest where he can be visited and receive the recognition and love from the millions of people who express it daily through various different means".
The government has not yet commented on the request.
Maradona, the former Boca Juniors and Napoli forward who had battled alcohol and drug addiction for many years, died in November, 2020 from heart failure after undergoing brain surgery that month.
His death shook the nation and caused widespread grieving for a man who led Argentina to victory in the 1986 World Cup and is considered to be one of the greatest footballers of all time.
The unusual initiative is in keeping with the almost God- like status accorded to Maradona when he was still alive.
He was buried in the Bella Vista cemetery on the outskirts of Buenos Aires after a day of mourning during which hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to express their grief and pay their respects to him.
(Reporting by Andrew Downie, editing by Ed Osmond)