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Argentina bids raucous farewell to soccer superstar Maradona, who died Wednesday at age 60

Mourners embrace as they wait to see Diego Maradona lying in state outside the presidential palace in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Thursday. The Argentine soccer great who led his country to the 1986 World Cup died Wednesday at age 60. (AP photo)
In this May 23, 1998, photo, soccer stars Argentina's Diego Maradona, left, Pele of Brazil, center, and France's Michel Platini pose shaking hands during Platini's jubilee at Nancy stadium, eastern France. Former France great Michel Platini, one of Diego Maradona's fiercest rivals when they both played in the Italian league during the 1980's, said the late Argentine soccer star was "the greatest football lover there was." Maradona died on Wednesday from a heart attack, aged 60. (AP file photo)

BUENOS AIRES — Soccer superstar Diego Maradona was buried Thursday in a private ceremony attended by only two dozen people — a stark contrast to earlier in the day when tens of thousands of weeping fans filed past his coffin for hours in an observance that mixed head-of-state-like honors with the chaos of a rowdy stadium.

Only family members and close friends were permitted at Jardin Bella Vista cemetery for the final religious ceremony and burial of Maradona next to the graves of his parents, Dalma and Diego.

Fans waving Argentine flags had gathered along roads as Maradona’s funeral car drove by under heavy security. Many tried to touch the vehicle whenever it was stopped by traffic.

Maradona died Wednesday of a heart attack in a house outside Buenos Aires where he had been recovering from a brain operation Nov. 3.

While the viewing bore the hallmarks of a state funeral, with Maradona’s casket laid out in the presidential palace, the atmosphere often was that of a soccer stadium — chanting, singing, pushing and the occasional whiff of alcohol.

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