One of the greatest footballer in the world known for his iconic ‘hand o god’ goal, which shattered English team dream of advancing in the 1986 world cup, has finally hung the boot of life as he dies at 60.
While his lifestyle was marked with controversies but with legendary legacies in the world football reportedly died of heart failure even after he succeeded heart surgery.
Until his death, Maradona was in and out o hospitals over his failing health. He was also linked to cases of drug addiction, even as he tested positive after on the pitch football match.
Meanwhile, Argentina has declared three days mourning as tributes continues to pour in even as football mourns over his death.
NewsTrack Nigeria (NTN) brings you what people say about the idolised legend even in death:
Pele …One day I hope we will play footbll in Heaven
Messi: “Diego has not gone, because he is eternal”
Another Argentine football legend, Leo Messi had a few words to say about Maradona’s passing: “A very sad day for all Argentines and for football. He has left us but he has not gone, because Diego is eternal. I will keep all the beautiful moments I experienced with him and I want to take this opportunity to send my condolences to all his family and friends. RIP.”
Simeone: “Maradona was our guide when we were kids”
As expected Diego Simeone was asked about Maradona’s death in his press conference after Atleti’s goalless draw with Lokomotiv. El Cholo remembered how Maradona took him under his wing when he joined Sevilla and sent a message of condolence to Diego’s family.
“It’s tough, really difficult, like I am sure it must be for everyone who shared time with Diego. A legend has left us. Those of us in that era, aged 8 or 9 years old, grew up looking up to Diego when he was still starting out and so for us, he was the guide for what it meant to play football. All of us feel a lot of pain in this moment. Maradona is football, he’s Argentinean… he had that rebellious character which identified him wherever he went and I am left with the moments I shared with him – he invited me to his house, he looked after me, he showed me what the Argentinean national side is all about, what it feels to play for Argentina. So when someone tells you that “Diego’s gone”, it’s very hard for that to sink in, you think it can’t be true, “No, no he can’t have gone…”. But he will still be with us, his spirit will remain in football grounds everywhere. He’s the best”.
Argentinean League Cup renamed in Maradona’s honour
The Argentinean Professional Football League (LPF) issued a statement on Wednesday confirming that the Professional League Cup will now be known as the Copa Diego Armando Maradona – Diego Armando Maradona Cup.
“For Carlos, Diego was like the son he never had”
Carlos Bilardo’s family didn’t want him to hear the tragic news second hand as they knew he would take it badly.
“He was sat in the dressing room, juggling his rolled up socks for about five minutes”
Gary Lineker witnessed Maradona’s passion for football for himself when he was invited to a match at La Bombonera and later, in a charity match. “I’ve never seen anyone with such an affection for the ball, it was incredible”.
“Having spent the time that I did with him, he is so revered, he is worshipped in Argentina. He constantly had a huge entourage around him. I went to see a game and I will never forget it. I went to see Boca Juniors play and he had his own little box there and I went with his family, he’s standing there and the atmosphere was unbelievable. One of his daughters was literally holding him as he was leaning over the balcony and screaming – holding him so he wouldn’t fall off. He had such an incredible passion for the game”.
Pablo Aimar: “We always wanted to be just like you”
More tributes from the football world and those who were influenced by the great Maradona. Pablo Aimar posted a photograph taken with his idol and wrote that during his childhood, while some kids fantasised about being a superhero, all he and his friends wanted was to be like Maradona.
Falcao expresses his gratitude to childhood idol, Maradona
Radamel Falcao says Diego Maradona “will live forever”. He wrote a heartfelt message to his boyhood idol on Twitter:
“Since I was a young boy you were always my idol. I remember spending hours watching your videos, hoping that one day, I too might become a professional footballer like you. When I finally got the chance to meet you, I could see that you were a person with a big heart. You treated me like you had known me all of your life – that was such a surprise to me. You left a mark on me by how approachable and how kind you were. Your legacy will last forever. Thank you for everything Diego, thank you for the pleasure and enjoyment you gave us watching you play out on the pitch. We will miss you. A big hug to your family and all of Argentina on this sad day”.
Maradona was the bravest and the most generous of all
El País sports writer Diego Torres on the death of a football icon and fellow countryman:
“In terms of courage, Maradona was the greatest of all the greats. None of the most important players in the history of football were as brave as he was. None of them put themselves on the line in the way he did. None of them were as generous with their team mates as he was. None faced more powerful enemies as he did. And none of them lost as much as he did”.
Mike Tyson: Diego was my hero, my friend
Tributes from the sports world outside of football. Mike Tyson is sad at losing a great friend. “The Hand of God, Maradona has left us. In 86 we both won our championships. They use to compare the two of us. He was one of my hero’s and a friend. I respected him so much. He will be greatly missed”.
Valdano breaks down in tears remembering Maradona
Jorge Valdano and Diego Maradona were team mates with Argentina at the 1986 World Cup finals in Mexico. Valdano was understandably sad on hearing the news of his death aged just 60 and couldn’t hold back the tears when asked about his old friend.
“I was really surprised by the news and like a lot of people, I am incredibly sad, I’m sorry for the player and for the man” Valdano told Movistar in a live transmission from the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid. “I have so many memories which, when I think about them, they make me smile…” Valdano was then overcome by emotion and couldn’t get any more words out.
Back in the studio, presenter Susana Guasch cut short the live broadcast and told her colleague that they would return to him at a more opportune moment. Later, Valdano had got over the initial shock and gave a short tribute to his old team mate, Maradona. “There is no better place for me to say goodbye to him than from a football ground. The whole of Argentina will be crying for him, and everybody else who loves football. Even the ball will be crying”.