Former international soccer star Diego Maradona mourned Saturday the death of Cuban leader Fidel Castro, whom he described as his "second father," and said the revolutionary's decease is "the greatest sorrow" he has known after the death of his parents.
"They called me from Buenos Aires and it was a great shock. I broke down and cried, because Fidel was like my second father. I lived four years in Cuba and Fidel would call me at 2 o'clock in the morning to talk politics or sports, or what was going on in the world, and I was always ready to talk," Maradona said on Argentine TV channel TyC Sports.
The Argentine ex-soccer player went on to describe his "most beautiful" memory. "When there was some event, he always called me up to see if I wanted to go or if I wanted to take part, and that's something I won't easily forget," he said.
From box seat 107 at the Zagreb Arena during the Davis Cup final between Argentina and Croatia, the star of the team that won the 1986 World Cup in Mexico said: "After this, I'm going to Havana. I want to be with Raul (Castro), I want to be with his kids, I want to be with the Cuban people who gave me so much. And to bid farewell to Fidel, my friend."
"I haven't talked to anyone yet, because what is going on is all very powerful. What I saw on television before coming to the stadium was very painful, seeing people celebrate a death. It's very sad. It's disgusting," he said about the celebrations following Castro's death.
"After the deaths of Tota (his mother) and my old man, it's the greatest sorrow I've ever had, really. No. 1 among the revolutionaries was Che, with Fidel at the helm. I came in the group behind them," he said sorrowfully.
"They're going to cremate him. And I can speak of all the gratitude I will have for him for the rest of my life. He spoke a lot about drugs, he spoke very much about rehabilitation, he spoke about all I could do. And here I am, speaking about him, and unfortunately three years ago, perhaps in my subconscious, I went to bid him farewell," Maradona said.
Fidel Castro died at age 90, his brother Raul Castro said on state television.