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Updated: June 15, 2014 11:31 IST

Brazil fans swarm Diego Maradona at World Cup

AFP
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A fiel photo of Diego Maradona
A fiel photo of Diego Maradona

Diego Maradona got lost trying to find his seat at the opening game of the World Cup and had to be rescued from a swarm of Brazil fans.

Newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo said the Argentine football great had trouble finding his way around Corinthians Arena at Thursday's kick-off match and was surrounded by a crowd of Brazilians there to cheer on their team -- Argentina's arch-rival -- against Croatia.

He was extracted from the crowd by an employee of the construction company that built the metal structure for the stadium's roof, said the daily.

She took him to her VIP box, where Maradona settled in alongside the locals.

Asked who he was rooting for, the 1986 World Cup champion replied: "Brazil, of course!"

But when the hosts opened the match with an own goal, the Brazilians in the box moved away, Folha said.

"Guys, he's a jinx. I'm staying away," said one.

True to his word, Maradona applauded for Brazil's goals -- but "without much euphoria," Folha reported. At halftime he critiqued the team's performance. "I didn't like Brazil," he said. "I didn't like their defense. They were good on attack. They got the ball to Neymar. That's good."

The conversation turned to politics when someone translated the obscene shouts that fans had greeted Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff with at the beginning of the match.

Maradona, who has often voiced support for Leftist leaders in the region, including Rousseff, called the heckling "absurd."

"It's shameful," he said. "I'm not going to watch any more Brazil matches in the stadium. I'm going to watch in my hotel on TV."

With 10 minutes to go in the match, Maradona said goodbye to everyone in the box, Folha said.

Then he made a quick exit, steering clear of the green and yellow masses.

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