Brazil-ALSHARQIYA November 27 : Brazil and Argentina have long vied for the supremacy of South American football, and the Brazilians naturally believe Pele is the best soccer player in history. But they put the controversy aside to mourn the death of Argentine superstar Diego Maradona.
Brazilian newspapers, which only put sports news in their headlines when the national team won the World Cup, devoted the same space to news of Maradona's death on Thursday.
A fresco of Maradona was also painted on a wall in the favela of Vila Cruzeiro in Rio de Janeiro, an honor that proud Brazilians and soccer fans seldom give to foreign players.
Former presidents and author Paulo Coelho were among the Brazilians who praised Maradona on his departure for his influence on the game and his personality off the field.
"He was an example of perseverance and determination because he grew up in life as a human being ... and ended his life as a human being because he struggled to overcome his problems," said graffiti artist Angelo Campos, who drew energetic Maradona in a blue shirt, under an inscription bearing the title "The Golden Boy".
Maradona suffered from drug and alcohol addiction, which for many years prompted Brazilian fans to cheer the Argentine hero and his hardcore fans, but now the situation is not the same as before.
The New Cuimica Arena in Sao Paulo displayed a picture of Maradona victorious on a giant screen at its main entrance. It is the same stadium where most of the Brazilian fans chanted against Argentina in the 2014 World Cup semi-final against the Netherlands. Argentina won this match on penalties but lost the final match to Germany 1-0.
All of Brazil's high-profile clubs praised Maradona on his farewell, including Santos, where Pele played nearly all of his football career.
Brazilians' respect for Maradona is also shown in an intriguing statistic - the Spanish name Diego was one of the most popular.
The names chosen for boys in this Portuguese-speaking country in 1990, the year Argentina beat Brazil 1-0 in the World Cup, and more than 180,000 Brazilian children were named after Maradona that year.
The 1990 victory was Maradona's only win over Brazil in six games. He lost three times to arch-rivals Argentina, and the most bitter loss was in the 1982 World Cup.
Young Maradona, already considered by many to be one of the best players in the world, was sent off in the final minutes of the match after a foul. The Argentine admitted later that he also wanted Brazilian player Paulo Roberto Falcao because of a quarrel between them.
On Thursday, Falcao said he did not remember Maradona saying that. "With the ball, he was a god. Without the ball, he was a human," he continued on his social media.