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Di Maria receives family death threat in Argentina if he returns to play in Rosario

Benfica's Angel Di Maria celebrates scoring his side's first goal from the penalty spot during the Europa League round of 16, first leg, soccer match between SL Benfica and Rangers FC at the Luz stadium in Lisbon, Thursday, March 7, 2024. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — 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 was 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 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.”

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AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer