FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter travelled to the Argentinian capital of Buenos Aires at the end of last week for the funeral of Julio Grondona, the Argentinian Football Association (AFA) President and former FIFA Senior Vice-President, who died last Wednesday.
Friday’s funeral service was held at the chapel at the Argentinian national team training centre and was attended by a number of the country’s leading football figures, among them Lionel Messi. Also present were several dignitaries representing the wider football world, including CONMEBOL President Eugenio Figueredo, FIFA Executive Committee member Marco Polo Del Nero, and FIFA Vice-President Angel Maria Villar Llona, a personal friend of Grondona’s and who spoke a few words in tribute to him at the ceremony.
Clearly saddened by Grondona’s death, Blatter paid a heartfelt homage to him on behalf of himself and the global football family. Struggling to conceal his emotions as Grondona’s family and the rest of the congregation looked on, the FIFA President spoke of the exceptional career his friend had forged in the governing bodies of national and world football and extolled his wisdom and foresight.
“He was a man of few words during working sessions, but when he did speak he always got to the point and made sense,” said Blatter. “Julio dedicated a great part of his life to football and commands our utmost respect. May he rest in peace.”