Argentinian football legend Diego Maradona has died at the age of 60, leaving world football in a state of mourning. Argentina has announced three days of state mourning. Brazilian football legend Pele said that he had lost a ‘great friend’ and hoped to play football with him ‘together in the sky.’
A tweet by the Argentine Football Association read, “The Argentine Football Association, through its President Claudio Tapia, expresses its deepest sorrow for the death of our legend, Diego Armando Maradona. You will always be in our hearts.”
Regarded as one of the legends of the game, Maradona had inspired his national team to achieve World Cup glory in 1986, which also included his controversial ‘Hand of God’ goal against England in the quarter-finals. He had also led his team to the World Cup final four years later.
Reacting to his death, Pele tweeted, “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.”
Barcelona and Argentina great Lionel Messi, who is widely regarded as the modern-day Maradona, wrote on Instagram, “He leaves us but he doesn’t go anywhere because Diego is eternal. I keep all the beautiful moments lived with him and I wanted to send my condolences and best wishes to all of his friends and family.”
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Juventus and Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo said goodbye to an ‘eternal genius’ on Twitter as he wrote, “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.”
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
India’s cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar tweeted, “Football and the world of sports has lost one of its greatest players today.
Rest in Peace Diego Maradona! You shall be missed.”
Maradona had undergone successful surgery for a blood clot in the brain earlier this month. Maradona scored 34 goals while representing his national team in 91 matches. The Argentine legend, who also represented clubs such as Barcelona and Napoli, had to face a 15-month ban after a positive drug test in 1991. He returned to play in the 1994 World Cup in the USA but had to be withdrawn midway through the competition after it was found that he had once again used the banned substance. Maradona retired from football in 1997.