Maradona to visit S. Korea for U-20 World Cup draw

Baku, March 9, AZERTAC/Yonhap 

Diego Maradona will visit South Korea next week to attend the draw for the FIFA U-20 World Cup, the local organizing committee said.

The South Korean organizers said FIFA has confirmed that Maradona and another Argentine great, Pablo Aimar, will participate in the draw for the U-20 World Cup in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, next Wednesday.

"We are very pleased to announce that two of the biggest stars from the history of the FIFA U-20 World Cup will take part in the draw for this year's competition," FIFA and the local organizers said in a release. "This will be a fantastic inspiration for the football stars of the future and the fans who will come together in the Republic of Korea two months from now."

The U-20 World Cup, featuring 24 teams, will be played from May 20 to June 11 in six South Korean cities: Cheonan, Daejeon, Incheon, Jeju, Jeonju and Suwon.

Both Maradona and Aimar are winners of the U-20 World Cup. Maradona won the event in 1979 and Aimar lifted the trophy in 1997.

This will be Maradona's first visit to South Korea since 1995, when he played in a friendly match for the Boca Juniors against the South Korean national football team.

The 56-year-old, regarded one of the greatest players in football history, said he has big expectations for the U-20 World Cup.

"It is with great emotion that I will travel to the Republic of Korea to take part in the draw," Maradona told "The U-20 World Cup is the pinnacle for every young player and hopefully this year we will see the Maradonas and Aimars of the future."

Aimar, one of the most creative attacking midfielders of his generation, said he feels "honored" to take a part in the tournament draw. The former River Plate and Valencia man won the 1997 U-20 World Cup with players like Juan Roman Riquelme, Esteban Cambiasso and Walter Samuel.

"I have very fond memories of the tournament we won in 1997," Aimar said to "It meant the kick-off of a great footballing career for me and for many of my teammates."

The local organizers said before participating in the tournament draw the two Argentine stars will meet with fans in Suwon to promote the U-20 World Cup. In that event, Maradona will be reunited with K League Deputy Commissioner Huh Jung-moo, who man-marked the Argentine at the 1986 World Cup.

Former South Korean midfielder Lee Kwan-woo, who played at the 1997 U-20 World Cup, will also join the event, the organizers said.

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