The mason who went with his son Diego Armando to Maradona’s wake: ‘He never forgot us, the humble’

They got up at five in the morning to say goodbye to their idol. When they were in front of the drawer, the father burst into tears. “Diego was the most consistent and instilled true values,” he said.

What he had thought to do was cry and he does. Boca’s T-shirt man disassembles in front of the drawer of Maradona. He chokes on spasms of sadness and takes a rough breath. His son Diego Armando accompanies him closely, but the moment of being in front of the coffin is individual. And the loneliness is enormous. A few meters away, is the idol’s family and relatives. Beyond, television cameras and journalists. Behind, the line of those who are going to fire him, which continues for blocks. And yet, for a moment, the only thing that resonates under the high ceilings of the Rosada is the cry of a mason from the suburbs that for the first time he can approach the Hand of God.

“The dream of my life was break her mouth with a kiss. I promised myself when I was young. I never, but never, thought that that day would be with Diego already dead, “he says.

Juan Jorgensen is 40 years old and the way to say goodbye began at sunrise, around 5 o’clock. Father and son live in Rincón de Milberg, Tigre, and it took them two hours to get on buses 60 and 152.

Many they left early to get to the fenced line that goes along Avenida de Mayo and to fire his idol. A girl, who attended alone, waves a flag while holding a red rose in her other hand. Darío Dawlowski (29) came from Parque Chacabuco and walks with his boots around his neck. He’ll put them at the bottom of the drawer, he says. Norma, 74, came from Florencio Varela with her daughter, and is walking slowly near the Pyramid of May. He tied a light blue scarf with the image of Maradona on his head.

“What was Maradona for you?” This newspaper asks Juan Jorgensen. “I love Maradona so much that I named my first child after him. What’s more, I told my wife that I wouldn’t take care of him if he didn’t let me call him that, “he explains.

Their son Diego Armando was born in 2000. That year, 198 babies were registered with that name. The peaks had been in 1981 (1,703 people), the year Boca was champion, and 1986 (1,501 people), coinciding with the Soccer World Cup in Mexico. It was not a popular name. In 1960, when the idol was born, only seven babies were named like that.

“It is too much to bear this name, you have a responsibility when you call yourself like him and honestly I’m terrible with the ball ”, says the 20-year-old, who clarifies that he defends himself in the goal. “Football 24×7, they took me as a boy to play and now I continue with the kids from the neighborhood, we rent a field, and I don’t miss a single Boca game and I saw all of Diego’s”, he says.

On Avenida de Mayo, a man opens the doors of his car and broadcasts at full volume Victor Hugo’s account of the goal with the hand that established Argentina as world champion against England. People clap and chant the “ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta, cosmic kite” with foggy eyes. “What flashes me the most is the dribble from behind the midfield (1992). It’s the dribble that drives me crazy. It is unmatched. Unique ”, defines Diego Armando Jorgensen.

The first memory he has of having seen Maradona is in 2010, when he was DT of the National Team, doing “duckling” and the “infinite” hug with the grandmother of Plaza de Mayo Estela de Carlotto. “We have to be with them,” the team’s technical director had said, where Lionel Messi was wearing the 10. Juan intervenes: “When my son grew up, he saw the worst in Maradona, all the family quilombos, and I told him that it was not for that reason that he bore his name, but only for football.”

In line there is no notion of a pandemic. The fans wear chinstraps, some of them, but in one square meter there are up to seven people. “This is Maradona’s bar, he’s dancing with his head, he moves here, he moves there,” he starts a pogo and you have to jump. The Federal Police watch from afar at 9.30. Someone lights the fuse and one asks for “a dry one.”

Juan acquired the passion for Maradona from his father, who saw him when he was the “Pelusa” playing little games in between times at the Bombonera. “I am a Boca fan, like almost all my 15 brothers, but I never went to the field. I am the father of young boys and my priorities are bread and milk ”, he clarifies.

Alone once in his life he had been close to 10. It was about ten years ago, he says. He was riding a bicycle through El Tigre, when he felt a commotion in the street and someone told him that Maradona was greeting people from the car, on the way to Parque de la Costa. “I let go of everything, I left the bike lying down and ran three blocks between the cars,” he says. The soccer star had already placed third and was moving away.

On his way out of La Rosada, Juan cries without pause through Diagonal Norte: “I kept him and I kept the promise I made to myself as a boy. I am happy to be with my son here. My condolences to his family. I hope they are more united now. The country lost its voice, its idol. In his madness he was the most consistent and instilled true values. He never forgot the humble like us”.

Father and son are leaving. “Our chest, heart and soul hurt,” says the 40-year-old man goodbye.




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