Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 9 August 2020

A throne, a warm reception, and a win: Diego Maradona gets an early birthday present from Newell's Old Boys

Argentine legend serenaded by fans both outside the stadium and in as his Gimnasia side record shock 4-0 victory

epa07937573 Gimnasia y Esgrima's head coach Diego Maradona gestures to fans after the defeat of his team during a match between Gimnasia y Esgrima and Union for the Argentine soccer Super League, at the Juan Carmelo Zerillo stadium in La Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 20 October 2019. EPA/Demian Alday Estévez
epa07937573 Gimnasia y Esgrima's head coach Diego Maradona gestures to fans after the defeat of his team during a match between Gimnasia y Esgrima and Union for the Argentine soccer Super League, at the Juan Carmelo Zerillo stadium in La Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 20 October 2019. EPA/Demian Alday Estévez

It was a welcome fit for a king.

Diego Maradona returned to Newell’s Old Boys on Tuesday, where he led current side Gimnasia to a shock 4-0 victory at the Estadio Marcelo Bielsa.

The Argentine, who turned 59 the following day, played only a few times for Old Boys, way back in 1993, but he was serenaded both outside the stadium and in – including hours before the match, at his hotel in Rosario.

When he arrived at the ground, Maradona was presented on the touchline with a special chair, which he dutifully signed. He then nestled into his “throne” to watch his team, who were rooted to the bottom of the Argentine first division, record a memorable victory. With it, Gimnasia moved up one spot in the table.

Television fans got a ringside view, too: to the World Cup winner himself, through a live “Diego Cam” that throughout the match streamed footage of the former forward.

Imagine the celebrations for his actual birthday on Wednesday …

Updated: October 30, 2019 10:29 AM

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