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Diego is eternal, Messi pays tribute to the legend

In this file photo taken on July 03, 2010 Argentina's coach Diego Maradona hugs Argentina's striker Lionel Messi after the 2010 World Cup quarter final Argentina vs Germany at Green Point stadium in Cape Town.

Homechevron_rightSportschevron_right'Diego is eternal,'...

"Diego is eternal," Messi pays tribute to the legend


Argentina and Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has said "Diego is eternal".

"A very sad day for all Argentines and 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," said Messi.

Portugal and Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo called Maradona an "eternal genius".

"Today I bid farewell to a friend and the world bids farewell to an eternal genius. One of the best of all time. 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," he tweeted.

Brazil and Paris St Germain forward Neymar shared a photo of a younger self with Maradona who is seen affectionately clutching him, on instagram - and called him a "legend of football".

Former England striker Gary Lineker, who as a member of the England team tasted defeat at the hands of Argentina at a 1986 World Cup quarter-final match, was also effusive in praise. He said Maradona was "by some distance, the best player of my generation and arguably the greatest of all time".

"Thank 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," said former Argentina and Tottenham midfielder Ossie Ardiles.

Argentina has announced a national mourning for three days after the soccer legend Diego Maradona's passing.

"The President of the Nation will decree three days of national mourning from the day (of his death)," according to the statement on Wednesday evening, reports Xinhua news agency.

Maradona died due to cardio respiratory arrest at his home in the Tigre district on the northern outskirts of the capital Buenos Aires.

His body did not show "any sign of violence" and everything indicates that he died of "natural causes," the prosecutor general of the Argentinian town of San Isidro, John Broyad, said.

According to Broyad, Maradona passed away "around 12:00" local time (1500 GMT) Wednesday at home in the neighbourhood of San Andres, on the northern outskirts of the capital.

In statements to the press, Broyad said that "at 16:00 (local time) the work of the Forensics Police began" on the body of the former footballer.

"No signs of criminality were evident, no signs of violence," said the prosecutor.

In addition, he reported that an autopsy would be carried out at the mortuary of San Fernando Hospital, to "reliably determine the causes of death".

A man pays his tribute in front of a statue of Argentina's player Diego Maradona in Kolkata on November 26, 2020.

The former star player and coach, most recently of the Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata football team, underwent surgery following a stroke in early November.

On October 30, Maradona had celebrated his 60th birthday. He had recently battled health issues and underwent emergency surgery for a subdural haematoma several weeks ago.

Brazil's Pele, another legend with whom the Argentine was often compared, said it is sad to "lose friends this way".

"Certainly one day we'll kick a ball together in the sky above".

After the surgery on November 3, his personal doctor Leopoldo Luque had said that Maradona was suffering from confusion caused by "abstinence". He, however, recovered enough to leave the hospital and was taken to a house in Tigre, on the northern outskirts of Buenos Aires.

His lawyer Matias Morla said the 1986 FIFA World Cup winner was feeling well after overcoming "maybe the toughest time of his life".

Widely rated as the greatest player of all time, Maradona was captain when Argentina won the 1986 World Cup. The tournament featured a number of sublime performances from the legendary forward, the most prominent of which came in a semi-final match against England.

An immortal goal with "hand of God"

"I dream of being able to score another goal against the English, with the right hand this time!" said Diego Maradona and burst into laughter during an interview to French weekly French Football last month. It turned out to be the last interview of his life.

Maradona, who did not acknowledged the involvement of his left hand right after the match, however later admitted several times that he had scored the goal "a little with my head, and a little with the hand of God."

Maradona's performance in that match immortalised him in his country's culture and in the history of world football. It also perhaps best summarises his career and life. If the first was scored through trickery and stood solely because the officials did not spot the transgression, the second was a work of genius that one can only dream of scoring in any match, let alone a quarter-final match of a World Cup.

Teammates take Maradona on their shoulders after their World Cup win in 1986

Four minutes after the "Hand of God" goal, Maradona went on a 60-yard run with the ball from midfield, dribbling past six English players, and ended the move with a feint that left goalkeeper Peter Shilton on the ground. He slotted the ball into the back of the net and scored what has since been called "The Goal of the Century". He completed his dash in 10 seconds and the players left in his wake apart from Shilton were Peter Beardsley, Peter Reid, Terry Butcher (twice) and Terry Fenwick.

"I made the play to give it to (Jorge) Valdano, but when I got to the area they surrounded me and I had no space," said Maradona after the match. "Therefore, I had to continue the play and finish it myself."

Maradona later complimented the fair play of the English team, saying, "I don't think I could have done it against any other team because they all used to knock you down; they are probably the noblest in the world."

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TAGS:Maradona death Argentina RIP 
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