'Why are they doing this to me?': Maradona's girlfriend in ugly funeral spat with ex-wife

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Diego Maradona, pictured here with former girlfriend Rocio Oliva.
Diego Maradona's former girlfriend Rocio Oliva claims to be have been banned from a family wake. Image: Twitter/Getty

Diego Maradona’s former girlfriend has taken a swipe at his ex-wife in an ugly spat after the football legend’s death.

Tens of thousands of fans filed past Maradona’s coffin on Thursday in ceremonies that mixed head-of-state-like honours with the chaos of a rowdy stadium.

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The Argentinian legend died on Wednesday at age 60 after suffering a heart attack.

In an ugly sub-plot to the tragedy, Maradona’s former girlfriend Rocio Oliva has broken down in tears while accusing his ex-wife of banning her from a family wake.

Calling the ban a ‘disgrace’, Oliva claimed to have been left off a list of Maradona’s closest family and friends to be allowed inside the Casa Rosada to view his coffin.

Oliva said Maradona’s ex-wife Claudia Villafane forced her to queue outside with the rest of the general public.

“I don’t know why they’re doing this to me. All I wanted to do was say goodbye to Diego,” she said.

“I was his last partner. I have as much right as anyone else to say goodbye to him.

“They should think a bit more about Diego who’s dead now.

“God sees everything and they are going to pay for this.”

Diego Maradona, pictured here with ex-wife Claudia and daughters Dalma and Giannina in 2008.
Diego Maradona with ex-wife Claudia and daughters Dalma and Giannina in 2008. (Photo by ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP via Getty Images)

Oliva and Maradona were together for six years before they broke up in 2018. The football legend was married to Villafane from 1984 to 2003.

Oliva had earlier paid tribute to Maradona, describing him as “the most important man in her life”.

“He was a very important man in my life. He was very good with me,” she said.

“We loved each other a lot and I’m always going to remember him in a good way.

“He was humble, charitable and had a giant heart and he really loved life. I have some beautiful memories in my heart.

“He loved me a lot. And that fills my soul.”

Thousands view Diego Maradona’s coffin

Fans singing soccer anthems, some draped in the national flag, formed a line more than 20 blocks long stretching from the Plaza de Mayo where Argentines gathered to celebrate the Maradona-led triumph in the 1986 World Cup.

But with the time for viewing the coffin at the nation’s presidential palace drawing short, police moved to cut off the back end of the crowd, enraging fans who hurled rocks and other objects at police, who responded with rubber bullets.

While the scenario was that of a state funeral, a casket laid out in the presidential palace, the atmosphere often was that of a soccer stadium - chanting, singing, pushing and the occasional whiff of alcohol.

Fans wept and blew kisses as they passed Maradona's wooden casket, some striking their chests with closed fists and shouting, “Let's go Diego.”

A hearse, pictured here carrying Diego Maradona's body to the Jardin Bella Vista cemetery.
The hearse carrying Diego Maradona arrives at the Jardin Bella Vista cemetery. (Photo by RONALDO SCHEMIDT/AFP via Getty Images)

It was draped with the Argentinian flag and shirts bearing his famed number 10 from the national team and the club side Boca Juniors, with other jerseys tossed around it by passing admirers.

Open visitation began after a few hours of privacy for family and close friends.

The first to bid farewell were his daughters and close family members.

Villafane came with Maradona's daughters Dalma and Gianinna. Later came Veronica Ojeda, also his ex-wife, with their son Dieguito Fernando.

Jana, who Maradona recognised as his daughter only a few years ago, also attended the funeral.

Then came former teammates of the 1986 World Cup-winning squad including Oscar Ruggeri.

Other Argentine footballers, such as Boca Juniors' Carlos Tevez, also attended.

with AAP