Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy waxed nostalgic about FNB stadium in Johannesburg, the site of Nelson Mandela's memorial service, remarking that it meant a lot because that's where Spain won the 2010 World Cup.
In the interview with RNE, he said the memorial service would only make the stadium more important now.
This soccer stadium where we're saying goodbye to Mandela, well is the stadium where Spain won the World Cup against Holland in soccer, no? Which makes it a very nice and emotional moment, and it's one of the most emblematic places in South Africa because of this and it will be more so in the future after today's act.
Many on Twitter were angered by what they viewed as a tone-deaf sentiment after the death of the respected figure.
He was also called an imbecile.
World leaders joined Rajoy at the memorial service, including President Obama, Cuba's Raul Castro, Brazil's Dilma Rousseff, Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao and Indian President Pranab Mukherjee.
Obama called Mandela the last great liberator of the 20th century. “Your dignity and hope found expression in his life, and your freedom, your democracy is his cherished legacy,” he said.
Adrian Carrasquillo is the White House correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.
Contact Adrian Carrasquillo at email@example.com.
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