Heartbroken Diego Maradona fans violently clashed with police in riot gear as they battled to catch a glimpse of the footie legend’s coffin.

Grief-stricken mourners clashed with authorities as they broke through barricades near the presidential palace in Buenos Aries, Argentina.

Pictures show tense scenes in the Argentinian capital as passion boiled over and led to brawls.

Fans were left bloodied, beaten and in tears as they scrambled to get a look at their hero’s casket.

Hoards of emotional supporters surrounded a white hearse last night as they paid tribute to the national icon.

Maradona rose to stardom at Boca Juniors and became a national hero, guiding Argentina to World Cup glory.

Considered one of, if not the very best, footballer to have played the game, his death has sparked widespread grief in his homeland.

Argentina president Alberto Fernandez has declared three days of mourning for the legendary forward, who died after a suspected heart attack aged just 60.

Fernandez said on Wednesday: "Diego was Argentina in the world. He gave us joy and we will never be able to repay him for so much joy."

Tens of thousands of Argentines have taken to the streets overnight, leaving tributes at his home and outside Boca Juniors’ stadium.

His body will now lie in state of three days at the presidential palace.

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Hundreds of mourners crammed together today to say goodbye to their icon as police, wielding shields and batons, fought to keep the peace.

Maradona's body lay in a wooden coffin with the blue and white national flag and an Argentina soccer jersey with the famous number 10.

His official mourning decree read: "His unparalleled footballing skill transformed him into one of the best-known people in the world, crossing frontiers and being universally recognised as the world's best player."

Fans held back by metal barriers thew things towards the casket, including jerseys, as they tried to get as close as they cold to their fallen hero.

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Emotions spilt over as crowds trampled and broke barricades and lashed out at riot police.

Mourners screamed, cheered and waved Argentine flags as they rallied together outside cultural landmarks.

Maradona's successes made him a global star and a national hero in Argentina but his career was also blighted by controversies on and off the field.

A 2005 television clip circulated in local media on Wednesday in which Maradona shared what he would say at his own funeral.

"Thank you for having played football, because it is the sport that gave me the most joy, the most freedom," Maradona said.

"It is like touching the sky with my hands. Thanks to the ball."

The preliminary autopsy has found Maradona died in his sleep after suffering heart failure which caused pulmonary edema.

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