Rabat – On the eve of the 2018 FIFA World Cup final in Russia, on Saturday, Argentinian football legend Diego Maradona warmly embraced Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, reiterating his support for the Palestinian people.
Abbas and Maradona met before Sunday’s final World Cup game between France and Croatia in Moscow.
During his meeting with Abbas, Maradona told the Palestinian leader: “In my heart, I am Palestinian.”
Expressing respect, Maradona shared a photo of himself and Abbas hugging on his Instagram.
The post was accompanied with a message in Spanish, saying “This man wants peace in Palestine. Mr. President Abbas, you have a full-fledged country.”
Abbas, however, received a backlash for attending the World Cup game amid Israeli violent air attacks against Gaza.
n Saturday, Israeli air raids killed two teenagers in Western Gaza.
Abbas also spoke with Russian leader Vladimir Putin during his visit.
Maradona’s recent support for Palestine is not the first of its kind. In 2012, Maradona said that he is a “number one fan of Palestinians.”
“I respect them and sympathize with them, he told reporters in Dubai in 2012.
“I support this nation’s cause, since I grew up struggling and standing against injustice,” he said.
A year earlier, Maradona was spotted wearing a kaffiyeh (a traditional Middle Eastern headdress) offered to him by one of his fans. “Long live Palestine,” the Argentine football legend shouted on the occasion.