Published Nov 25, 2020Argentine footballer Diego Maradona passed away today at age 60, and among the flood of tributes online, Queen have shared an image of the time their original lineup met the iconic player backstage in his home country.
Following the release of eighth studio album The Game in 1980, the accompanying six-leg, 81-show world tour saw Queen stage their first-ever performances in South America. A March 8 performance at José Amalfitani Stadium — the second of two in Buenos Aires on the trek — saw the band draw a crowd of 300,000 people.
Among them was a 21-year-old Maradona, who had already impressed football fans at home and away with his play for South American clubs and Argentina's national team. As football fans themselves, Queen sought to meet the young star on his home turf.
As you'll hear with the audio below, Freddie Mercury invites Maradona onstage during Queen's performance to the crowd's delight: "Right now, I'd like do introduce a friend of yours — and ours — tonight. I'm sure you all know him."
"I want to thank Freddie and Queen for making me so happy," Maradona said, ahead of leading bassist John Deacon into "Another One Bites the Dust."
Backstage, Queen and Maradona held something of a jersey swap. The footballer donned Brian May's Union Jack shirt, Mercury's red scarf and Roger Taylor's drumsticks, while the frontman put on the footballer's national team jersey.
The meeting with Maradona in Buenos Aires would also mark Queen's final shows in Argentina until 2008.
Popular Argentine soccer broadcaster Victor Hugo Morales called Maradona "one of the great artists of my time" upon news of his passing. "Like great masters of music and painting, he has defied our intellect and enriched the human spirit. Nobody has thrilled me more and left me in such awe as Diego."
RIP Football legend Diego Maradona 🙏— Queen (@QueenWillRock) November 25, 2020
Photograph by Neal Preston © Queen Productions Ltd pic.twitter.com/A3o8A6pO2s