Whom will you back? Sourav Ganguly or Diego Maradona? Image: Twitter
Diego Maradona has kept his word. He has arrived in Kolkata for a three-day private trip, which was originally planned in September. And he's ready to lock horns with Sourav Ganguly in a football match. The match will be held 35 km from the city at the Barasat Stadium on December 12.
Sporting a blue T-shirt and a cap, the Argentine and his female companion landed past 7pm via Dubai and headed straight to the hotel in New Town, Rajarhat.
This was the 1986 World Cup winner's second visit to the city after December 2008, when thousands of fans gathered near the airport and lined up the streets well past midnight to welcome their football icon. But with his latest trip mired in postponements more than once and an air of uncertainty until the last minute, it was a low-key arrival for Maradona, as only a handful journalists and some officials were seen at the airport and the hotel.
"It is such an honour for me to be able to make this trip. Kolkata is a very special place and I have good memories from my trip there many years ago, the fans were fantastic," Maradona said.
"India is a very passionate football nation, and I look forward to meeting a whole new generation of fans while continuing to spread the overwhelming love that I have for this beautiful game."
Originally scheduled to arrive on September 19, on the day of Mahalaya to kickstart the auspicious Durga Puja festival, Maradona was to unveil his statue besides inaugurating a north Kolkata puja pandal.
(With inputs from PTI)