- 25 Nov 20
Pelé, Gary Lineker, Napoli, Rio Ferdinand, Sevilla & Andriy Shevchenko are among those mourning the loss, but celebrating his life
The world of football has come together to loudly sing the praises of Argentine football legend Diego Maradona who's passed away today aged 60. It's a sign of his mythic status in his home country that the President of Argentina has just announced three days of national mourning. We suspect that the same reverence will be observed in Naples where every district of the city has its own shrine to a player that became one of their own.
"What sad news," says one of the few players ever to rival him, Pelé. "I have lost a great friend and the world has lost a legend. There is still much to be said, but for now, may God give strength to his family. One day, I hope we can play ball together in the sky."
"By some distance the best player of my generation and arguably the greatest of all time," Gary Lineker reflects. "After a blessed but troubled life, hopefully he’ll finally find some comfort in the hands of God."
"My first football hero," says Rio Ferdinand. "Few people have impact over generations like this man did. The greatest, the best, the artist, the man...charismatic, a leader...A WINNER! One of the main reasons why I went out on my estate to kick a ball, pretending to be Diego. RIP Diego Armando Maradona."
"To be Diego Maradona was incredibly beautiful," Ossie Ardiles who played alongside him for Argentina told the BBC. "But on the other hand, it was not easy at all. Right from a really early age, he was subject to the press all the time. He didn't have a normal childhood, he never had normal teenage years. Everybody wanted to be with him, everybody wanted a piece of him, so it was incredibly difficult. He will be remembered as a genius in football. You can see the extraordinary amount of interest that he generates. People like Ronaldo, or people like Messi, they couldn't even dream of having this kind of admiration. That was the Maradona phenomenon - all the time."
"There was a banner in Argentina, one year ago, that I read that said: 'No matter what you have done with your life, Diego, it matters what you do for our lives,'" says Pep Guardiola.
"It expresses perfectly what this guy gave us. The man of joy and pleasure and his commitment for world football."
"You were always a genius," reflects Carlo Ancelotti. "Today is a very sad day and a great loss. But you my friend are eternal. Ciao Diego. Rest In Peace."
"He was like a rubber ball," Liam Brady told RTÉ. "He had a very low centre of gravity. He could go any direction, he could twist and turn. He had a great vision of the football field he could see a pass. He could dribble, he could actually do everything. Free kicks, he could bend them around the wall or strike them hard and he could score any type of goal.
We'll see now, some of the goals that the man scored down through the years and we can appreciate what a great player he was."
This is the response to the tragic news from Naples:
Always in our hearts 💙
Ciao, Diego pic.twitter.com/I2gTWqdtdB
— Official SSC Napoli (@en_sscnapoli) November 25, 2020
Bryan Robson adds: "What a player he was – undoubtedly the best of his era and up there with the likes of Pele among the greatest ever. He won the 1986 World Cup for Argentina more or less on his own. The football he played and the goals he scored in that tournament were unbelievable. He went past five players to score against England in the quarter-final and then did exactly the same against Belgium in the semi-final. He was a real character too. I played with him in quite a few charity games and he was a great person to be around."
The maker of the brilliant 2019 Maradona documentary, Asif Kapadia, says: "Cant quite believe Diego Maradona 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."
Here's a selection of the other tributes to a man with a truly God given talent:
A hero for an entire country and football itself.
One of the greatest players to have graced the game of football, and we were lucky enough to enjoy you at Sevilla FC.
Diego Armando Maradona, forever eternal.
Rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/BXHNC51vxe
— Sevilla FC (@SevillaFC_ENG) November 25, 2020
Hoje despeço-me de um amigo e o Mundo despede-se de um génio eterno. Um dos melhores de todos os tempos. Um mágico inigualável. Parte demasiado cedo, mas deixa um legado sem limites e um vazio que jamais será preenchido. Descansa em paz, craque. Nunca serás esquecido.🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/WTS21uxmdL
— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) November 25, 2020
Very saddened to hear of the passing of Diego Maradona, whose genius on the football field lit up the world on countless occasions. We mourn the loss of a player of the century who scored the goal of the century in Mexico in 1986. May he Rest In Peace
— Micheál Martin (@MichealMartinTD) November 25, 2020
You have always given me emotions and smiles. Nothing will undo what you have done for all those who love football. Rest In Peace eternal legend.❤️🙏🏻 #Maradonahttps://t.co/wp3FoUVYZf pic.twitter.com/qvQv12qEcH
— Andriy Shevchenko (@jksheva7) November 25, 2020
They say his body has passed.
But God will never leave us.
1960 - 2020 pic.twitter.com/VvHZfEJHCi
— Newell's Old Boys - English (@Newells_en) November 25, 2020
Always a delight to be in his company. 🙌🏻 https://t.co/SfTo8SLqlR
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) November 25, 2020
— Robbie Fowler (@Robbie9Fowler) November 25, 2020
Football has lost one of its greatest icons.
Rest in peace, Diego Maradona. pic.twitter.com/uGIinhLDgf
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) November 25, 2020
— SPORF (@Sporf) November 26, 2020
Irreplaceable. Unstoppable. Unforgettable. Immortal.
A true legend of the game has passed away. Love for football came from you. Thanks for the memories.
Rest in Peace, Diego Armando #Maradona. #Panathinaikos pic.twitter.com/ZI0mUSJFPh
— Panathinaikos F.C. (@paofc_) November 25, 2020
Argentina mourns Diego Maradona with a wake at the presidential palace in Buenos Aires https://t.co/yWLxtjD1UR
— Reuters (@Reuters) November 26, 2020