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Saturday, July 31, 2021

Church of Maradona opens its doors in Cholula Mexico

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
The facade of the Maradonista Church in Cholula is covered with images of “El Grande” — the Great One. Photo: Courtesy

The first church in Mexico dedicated to the cult of soccer legend Diego Maradona has opened in Cholula, Puebla. 

The Church of Maradona, or Iglesia Maradoniana, is a religion created by fans of the late Argentine football player Diego Maradona, whom they believe to be the best player of all time.

The “temple” was opened by Argentinian-born mega-fan Marcelo Buchet who says the idea of opening Mexicos’ first Maradonian church had been long in the making. 

The church is full of images of “the great one” as well as an altar featuring a sculpture called “the hand of God” and even a baptismal font.

“Initially I had not even thought about celebrating baptisms, but then people started to arrive, asking me to baptize their children, so I got one and am happy to oblige,” said Buchet. 

A young boy pays his respects at the main altar inside the Church of Maradona. Photo: Courtesy

Supporters of the Maradonian Church, count the years since Maradona’s birth in 1960 with the era designation d.D. — después de Diego, or after Diego.

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The first Maradonista Church was founded in 1988 on Maradona’s birthday in the city of Rosario, Argentina. 

The location of the Church of Maradona in the city of Cholula, Puebla is somewhat ironic. Cholula has more Catholic churches than any other city in Mexico. 

But followers of the cult say that the Maradonian Church should not be interpreted as opposing Catholocism or any other religion, as it is just an expression of love for Maradona which does not profess any serious theological doctrine. 

“I have a rational religion, and that’s the Catholic Church, and I have a religion cemented in my heart, passion, and that’s Diego Maradona,” said Alejandro Verón, one of the church’s original founders. 

In 1986 Diego Maradona led the Argentinian national team to a stunning victory over Western Germany at the FIFA World Cup held in Mexico City. During the quarter-finals phase of that same tournament, Maradona scored a goal against England, so spectacular that it became known as “the hand of God.”

Before his untimely death at the age of 60 from a heart attack in 2020, Maradona had spent a good deal of time in Mexico, as he took the job of head coach of the Sonora soccer team, Dorados de Sinaloa. 

Aside from being an Argentinian national hero, and one of the greatest soccer players to ever play the game, Maradona was also famous for his excesses — particularly when it came to women and cocaine. 

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