Maradona meets Jyoti Basu
Kolkata (IANS): Soccer legend Diego Maradona on Sunday afternoon met veteran Marxist leader Jyoti Basu at his Salt Lake residence and bonded over their mutual friend, former Cuban ruler Fidel Castro.
"Maradona told Basu, 'I (Maradona) am a friend of Fidel Castro, and you (Basu) are a friend of Castro too'," West Bengal Sports Minister Subhas Chakraborty told mediapersons waiting outside. "He further said 'Whoever is Castro's friend across the world is also my friend'," Chakraborty added.
Maradona was scheduled to visit the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader's home in North 24-Parganas district on Sunday morning but postponed the visit for personal reasons and went in the afternoon.
The football hero met the nonagenarian politician for 10 minutes, but disappointed his fans who waited in hundreds outside Basu's residence.
Lending a Communist hue to Maradona's two-day visit to Kolkata, the organisers had arranged for a tete-a-tete between him and Basu. Maradona, a great admirer of Castro, readily agreed to call on Basu at his residence after seeing a photograph of the former Chief Minister with Castro.
The photo, showing Castro and Basu standing side by side, was taken in 1973 when the former Cuban President paid a visit to the city. It was sent to Maradona about 10 days back by the organisers.