Diego Maradona passed away at the age of 60 on Wednesday, and the outpouring of respect, appreciation and love for the Argentine has been unrelenting. Players, pundits, journalists and fans from all over the world have told their stories, and had their respective say on the little magician.
During BT Sport’s Champions League coverage, Gary Lineker told several stories regarding his experiences with Diego.
Lineker recalled: “He did something that was incredible, one of the most unbelievable things I’ve ever seen on a football pitch.”
“He juggled the ball all the way out to the centre circle and then he went ‘bang!’ and he whacked it as high as he possibly could and he waited.”
“And it came down. Then he went ‘bang!’ and did it again. He did it 13 times and the most he ever did was walk three paces to it. All of us were sitting there going ‘that’s impossible!'”
“I remember going to training the next day with Barcelona and we all tried it. The best anyone did was three and they were running for the third one. I’ve never seen anyone just have such a beautiful affection with a football.”
“He had such an incredible passion for the game.”
“I’ve never seen anyone have such a beautiful affection with a football.”
A heartfelt tribute from @GaryLineker to the one and only Diego Maradona…
And a lovely story that sums up his genius ❤️ pic.twitter.com/ztAhYyNFIs
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) November 25, 2020
Rio Ferdinand, Michael Owen and Peter Crouch looked in awe whilst listening to the story, as Lineker told and acted it out. Similar anecdotes will no doubt continue to surface in the days following his passing.
Football in the sky
Arguably the only player to be in the same league as Maradona, Brazilian rival Pele, has also provided his thoughts on the passing of the titan.
“What sad news. I lost a great friend and the world lost a legend,” wrote Pele on his Twitter feed.
“There is still much to be said, but for now, may God give strength to family members. One day, I hope we can play football together in the sky.”
Que notícia triste. Eu perdi um grande amigo e o mundo perdeu uma lenda. Ainda há muito a ser dito, mas por agora, que Deus dê força para os familiares. Um dia, eu espero que possamos jogar bola juntos no céu. pic.twitter.com/6Li76HTikA
— Pelé (@Pele) November 25, 2020
Lionel Messi, the modern day iteration of the Argentinian great, who’s achievements have fallen somewhat short of Maradona with no World Cup trophy to his name, also paid tribute:
“A very sad day for all Argentines and for football. He leaves us but does not leave, because Diego is eternal,” said the Barca captain.
“I keep all the beautiful moments lived with him and I wanted to take the opportunity to send my condolences to all his family and friends. RIP.”
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Football loses an icon as Diego Maradona, 60, dies after a cardiorespiratory arrest 3 days after leaving hospital
This article was edited by Conor Laird.