An aeroplane dedicated to Argentine great Diego Maradona has been unveiled ahead of a journey that will end at the World Cup in Qatar later this year.
The Tango D10S – a 12-seater aircraft financed by an Argentine FinTech company - is designed as a flying museum in tribute to the former World Cup winner, who died of a heart attack in November 2020.
It features a picture of Maradona kissing the World Cup trophy on the fuselage, while his face is also on the tail.
The wings feature both of his goals from Argentina's 2-1 victory against England in the 1986 World Cup quarter-final: the “Hand of God” goal on the left wing and the winner, a goal regarded as one of the greatest of all time, on the right.
“I am mad about Maradona, one of those people who still watch videos of Diego before I go to sleep at night,” Gaston Kolker, CEO of FinTech company Give and Get, said.
“This is the first World Cup without Maradona and maybe the last with (Lionel) Messi. I said, I want to make Diego’s plane, I want to make Diego’s plane. And so we launched Tango D10S.
“When Maradona’s teammates saw it, the World Cup winners from 1986, they were amazed, they were hypnotised by the aircraft,” Kolker said at an unveiling with other members from that World Cup winning side on Wednesday in Buenos Aires.
The plan is planned to fly the plane around Argentina and eventually to Qatar for the World Cup in November.
Diego Maradona in pictures
Fans will be able to board the aircraft and leave a message for Maradona in the cockpit, “interact” with the late player through artificial intelligence, and see memorabilia from him and others players from the 1986 team.
It will also be available for private hire before being auctioned for charity.
“We can’t believe or understand this craziness, the love involved,” Maradona’s daughter Dalma said alongside her sister Giannina at the presentation of the plane. “How far will fans go? As far as a plane.”
Maradona died aged 50 in November 2020 while recovering from brain surgery for a blood clot.
Widely considered one of the greatest footballers in history, he led Argentina to victory in the 1986 World Cup and enjoyed a successful club career that spanned more than 20 years.
After coming through the Argentinos Juniors youth system and playing for the first team for six years, Maradona had spells at Boca Juniors and Barcelona, before a seven-year spell at Napoli in which he transformed the club's fortunes and guided them to their first ever Serie A title in 1987, winning the scudetto again two years later.
Stepping into football management, Maradona had various short-term spells around the world, including with the Argentina national team, whom he led to the 2010 World Cup, and in the UAE, first with Al Wasl and then with Fujairah.