Maduro welcomes Maradona to Caracas ahead of forum

AFP
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro (R) has thanked Argentina's former football player Diego Armando Maradona for his support (AFP Photo/STR)
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro (R) has thanked Argentina's former football player Diego Armando Maradona for his support (AFP Photo/STR)

Caracas (AFP) - Former Argentine footballer Diego Maradona met Tuesday in Caracas with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who thanked the icon for his "unconditional support," as the leader was set to begin three days of meetings at the leftist Sao Paulo Forum.

"How lovely to see Maradona again in our beloved homeland! Venezuela is your home, friend and soul brother. Welcome!" Maduro tweeted, attaching a video of the two men hugging.

"Here we are," Maradona, now manager of Argentina club team Gimnasia y Esgrima de La Plata, said to the socialist leader in the video.

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"I see you rejuvenated ... What did you do to yourself? Is it Gimnasia that has you like this?" Maduro responded, with his hand still on Maradona's left shoulder after an embrace.

In another post to Twitter, Maduro thanked the legendary player for his "unconditional support" during the "pleasant visit."

Caracas is set to host Sao Paulo Forum meetings Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

The 1986 World Cup champion will remain in the Venezuelan capital until Thursday, according to Argentinian press reports.

The famous number 10's arrival in Caracas comes as Venezuela is looking for a national football team coach after Rafael Dudamel resigned earlier this month to sign with Brazilian side Atletico Mineiro.

Venezuelan Football Federation (FVF) sources denied to AFP that Maradona's visit was related to the efforts to find a coach for the team.

FVF officials said Monday in a statement that the organization is still on the lookout for a replacement to lead the team, "preferably" a foreigner.

Among the options at home are Cesar Farias, currently the coach in Bolivia.

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