Tributes are flooding in following the death of Argentina legend and one of the greatest footballers of all time, Diego Maradona.
Reports that the former Barcelona, Napoli and Boca Juniors star - who won the World Cup in 1986 with Argentina - had passed away aged 60 were confirmed by his attorney on Wednesday, and the world of football was quick to reaction.
Maradona's close friend and international teammate, former Tottenham midfielder Ossie Ardiles, said: "Thank [you] dear Dieguito for your friendship, for your football, sublime, without comparison. Simply, the best football player in the history of football. So many enjoyable moments together. Impossible to say which one was the best. RIP my dear friend."
Brazilian legend Pele, in many peoples’ eyes Maradona’s great rival for the title of greatest of all time, said: “What sad news. I lost a great friend and the world lost a legend. There is still much to be said, but for now, may God give strength to family members. One day, I hope we can play ball together in the sky.”
Former England striker Gary Lineker, part of the Three Lions squad sent home from the 1986 World Cup thanks to Maradona’s infamous ‘Hand of God’ goal, said: "By some distance the best player of my generation and arguably the greatest of all time. After a blessed but troubled life, hopefully he’ll finally find some comfort in the hands of God."
Reports from Argentina that Diego Armando Maradona has died. By some distance the best player of my generation and arguably the greatest of all time. After a blessed but troubled life, hopefully he’ll finally find some comfort in the hands of God. #RipDiego
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) November 25, 2020
The Twitter account for the Argentina team posted a picture of Maradona captioned: "Goodbye, Diego. You will be Eternal in every heart of the soccer planet."
Lionel Messi, who played under Maradona when he was Argentina manager at the 2010 World Cup, added: "A very sad day for all Argentines and for football. He leaves us but does not leave, because Diego is eternal.
"I keep all the beautiful moments lived with him and I send my condolences to all his family and friends. RIP."
Manchester United and England striker Marcus Rashford posted a photo of the 91-cap international, captioned "Legendary" with the image of a broken heart. Rashford’s current England teammate Jadon Sancho said: “RIP to a great! Condolences to your family. Never got to meet Diego but always watch him as a kid on YouTube and definitely inspired me. #TheBeautifulGame”
Always in our hearts 💙
Ciao, Diego pic.twitter.com/I2gTWqdtdB
— Official SSC Napoli (@en_sscnapoli) November 25, 2020
Asif Kapadia, who directed the critically acclaimed 2019 film Diego Maradona, tweeted: “Cant quite believe DM has gone. Hard to process. He always seemed indestructible. I had 10 hours with the man!! I touched his left foot. We did our best to show the world the man, the myth, the fighter he was. The greatest #legend #DiegoMaradona”
Argentina president Alberto Fernandez said: “You took us to the top of the world. You made us immensely happy. You were the greatest of all.Thanks for having existed, Diego. We will miss you for life.”
Thank you for everything, Diego pic.twitter.com/bJ9l3ixY7A
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) November 25, 2020
Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo called Maradona a “friend” and an “eternal genius”, adding: “One of the best ever. An unparalleled magician. He leaves too soon, but leaves a legacy without limits and a void that will never be filled. Rest in peace, ace. You will never be forgotten.”