Argentina's farewell to a former president

Diego Maradona was among thousands who paid respects yesterday to the former president of Argentina Nestor Kirchner as his body lay in state at the presidential palace.

Maradona, who coached the Argentina football team at the World Cup, gave a long embrace to Kirchner's widow, the current president Cristina Fernandez.

Maradona afterward called Kirchner a "gladiator" and compared him to Che Guevara, the Argentina-born revolutionary who played a key role in Cuba's 1959 revolution.

"Losing him is terrible for us," Maradona said. "Argentina lost a gladiator, a man who was always involved, who pulled us out of the well. He had many qualities of Che Guevara."