Di Maria family receives death threat in Argentina

Argentine police and prosecutors are investigating an anonymous death threat to soccer star Ángel Di Maria delivered in his hometown of Rosario early Monday.

Staffers of the Funes Hills Miraflores condominium where the World Cup winner usually stays in the region, said they found a package containing a death threat to Di Maria’s family if he returned to play for one of the city clubs.

The 36-year-old winger at Benfica in Portugal said recently he could play again for his boyhood club Rosario Central. He is currently in the United States touring with Argentina.

“That kind of threat brings a lot of social commotion and that is their aim — to make the population scared, hit public figures,” Esteban Santantino, who works in security for the local government, told broadcaster Todo Noticias.

Rosario has been rocked by waves of violence between rival drug dealing groups. The city homicide rate is 22 per 100,000 residents, far above Argentina’s average of 4.2 per 100,000.

The city is the site of one of the world’s largest agro-port hubs and has seen an intense increase in violence by drug trafficking groups, with Rosario — according to experts — a potential outlet for illegal drugs to other countries.

The violence in Rosario affected another World Cup winner a year ago. Unidentified gunmen shot at a supermarket owned by a relative of Lionel Messi‘s. They also left a message that read: “Messi, we are waiting for you.”

The Argentine government said last week it will send a bill to Congress to allow the armed forces to intervene in internal security operations to fight drug trafficking and crime in Rosario.

Information from Reuters and The Associated Press was used in this story.

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