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September 22, 2014
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Messi, Blatter expected at Grondona wake

Argentina captain Lionel Messi and FIFA president Sepp Blatter are among leading figures in world soccer expected to attend the wake of former Argentine FA president Julio Grondona today.

Grondona, who was also world governing body FIFA's senior vice-president, died of heart failure aged 82 after 35 years at the helm of Argentine football which he ran in the style of "The Godfather" as his critics liked to call him.

Former national team coaches, club directors and political figures attended the wake at the AFA's national team training complex in Ezeiza on the outskirts of the capital.

"There will only ever be one Grondona. He was the most important director in the history of Argentine football," said former Boca Juniors chairman Mauricio Macri, now mayor of Buenos Aires city.

Boca great Juan Roman Riquelme, now back at his first club Argentinos Juniors, also paid his respects along with Alfio Basile, who coached Argentina to their last two major tiles, the Copa America in 1991 and 1993.

"We've come to greet the whole family. Julio always behaved great with us, he was a simple type, a man of the barrio. All he cared for apart from his family was football," Basile told reporters at the complex gates.

Luis Segura, who as AFA vice-president has taken charge until the organisation holds elections for a successor, said Grondona had been exhausted by the World Cup finals in Brazil, worn down by the tension of Argentina's chances of winning their third title.

"I think he came back very tired from the World Cup, it made him very tense. He had big hopes of achieving the championship," Segura said.

The dream fell a match short, Argentina losing the final to Germany 1-0 after extra time in Rio de Janeiro on July 13.
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Tags:  Grondona  wake  death  AFA  FIFA  Argentina  Messi  Blatter  





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