Tributes from the world of football have flooded in for Diego Maradona after he died at the age of 60.
The football legend had a heart attack at his home just two weeks after leaving hospital, having undergone surgery on a blot clot in his brain.
Maradona, regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time, helped Argentina win the World Cup in 1986, the pinnacle of an illustrious career that saw him widely adored for spells at Boca Juniors, Barcelona and Napoli at club level.
Argentine football legend Diego Maradona has died at the age of 60 following a heart attack
Maradona had recently been in hospital for surgery after suffering a bleed on the brain
Lionel Messi, who is widely regarded as Maradona’s heir in Argentina and one of his rivals when it comes to the Greatest Of All Time debate, paid an emotional tribute to his idol on Instagram.
Having played under Maradona at international level between 2008 and 2010, the Barcelona superstar posted two pictures of himself with the legendary former player alongside the message: ‘A very sad day for all Argentines and for football. He leaves us but does not leave, because Diego is eternal.
‘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.’
Lionel Messi (left) took to Instagram to post this picture with Maradona, alongside a message
The Barcelona star also shared this photo of himself with Maradona and called his idol ‘eternal’
Sergio Aguero also penned a poignant message following the death of his former father-in-law.
After his involvement for Manchester City against Olympiacos, Aguero wrote: ‘We are never going to forget you. You will always be with us. #GraciasDiego RIP.’
Aguero was married to Gianinna Maradona, the youngest daughter of the former Argentine footballer who was there at the birth of the couple’s son Benjamin in 2009. The couple separated in 2012.
Maradona’s former clubs and the Argentina national team’s Twitter account were among the first to pay tribute to him.
Barcelona, where he enjoyed two seasons between 1982 and 1984, tweeted: ‘Thank you for everything, Diego’.
The AFA, tweeted: ‘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.’
Sergio Aguero wrote on Twitter: ‘We are never going to forget you. You will always be with us.’
Boca Juniors, where Maradona began and ended his career in Argentina, tweeted: ‘Eternal thank you. Eternal Diego.’
Napoli, where Maradona spent seven years between 1984 and 1991 and won the club’s only two Serie A titles in 1987 and 1990, wrote: ‘Always in our hearts. Ciao Diego’.
They then tweeted again, saying: ‘The world awaits our words but there are no words to describe the pain we’re going through. Now is the time to grieve’.
Another football legend, the great Brazilian Pele, wrote: ‘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.’
With the sport in mourning, Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford led the tributes as news of the passing first broke with just one word, ‘Legendary’, alongside a picture of the former Napoli and Barcelona icon in his heyday.
Cristiano Ronaldo posted an old picture of himself with Maradona on his Instagram account and wrote: ‘Today I say goodbye to a friend and the world says goodbye to an eternal genius.
‘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.’
Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand posted a series of pictures of him with Maradona over the years, and wrote a heartfelt message saying: ‘My 1st football hero. 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.’
Gary Lineker, who was on the receiving end of Maradona’s famous Hand of God and his incredible solo goal in Argentina’s quarter-final victory over England in Mexico in 1986, tweeted: ‘Reports from Argentina that Diego Armando Maradona has died.
‘By some distance the best player of my generation and arguably the greatest of all time. After a blessed but troubled life, hopefully he’ll finally find some comfort in the hands of God. #RipDiego’.
The England national team’s Twitter account, on the wrong end of Maradona’s magic and infamous handball 34 years ago, wrote: ‘Unforgettable. Farewell, Diego. A legend of our game.’
Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher tweeted: ‘I’ll never forget watching Diego Maradona as an 8 yr old at the World Cup in Mexico. Never seen anything like it on that stage since. Sad news #Maradona’.
Former England and Liverpool striker Michael Owen added: ‘Quite simply – a player like no other. Rest In Peace Diego Maradona.’
AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic posted a picture of himself laughing with Maradona on Instagram, captioning it: ‘Maradona is not dead he is immortal. God gave the world the best gifted football player of all times.
‘He will live forever and ever.’
England captain Harry Kane tweeted a picture of when he met Maradona in the Tottenham dressing room in 2017, and wrote: ‘Privileged to have met him. Very sad news. RIP Diego Maradona.’
His manager, Jose Mourinho, took to his Instagram account to share a picture of him on the bench with Maradona, and wrote: ‘Don Diego. F**k friend I miss you’.
Juventus boss Andrea Pirlo wrote: ‘The god of football goes away… thanks for everything Diego.’
Former England captain David Beckham, who was involved in controversy during a clash with Argentina at the 1998 World Cup, posted a picture of himself with his arm around Maradona to Instagram and wrote: ‘A sad day for Argentina and a sad day for football as we celebrate the greatness of what this man gave us…
‘Someone that played with passion, spirit and was nothing less than a pure genius.. I was so excited to meet Diego and we will all miss him. Rest In Peace.’
Tottenham and Argentina forward Erik Lamela posted an image of himself with Maradona and Sergio Aguero – the late star’s former son-in-law – plus pictures of his hero in action and lifting the World Cup.
Alongside the photos, Lamela wrote: ‘For me you are eternal… dear D1EG0!!’
Chelsea midfielder Jorginho, who used to play for Maradona’s former club Napoli, also shared a photo of himself with the Argentine legend, adding the hashtags ‘maestro’, ‘respect’ and ‘goodbye great’.
Chelsea and Germany striker Timon Werner posted an image of him shaking hands with Maradona on international duty with the caption: ‘Rest in peace, legend.’
Stan Collymore tweeted: ‘The football Gods shone brightly on this one. What an incredible, incredible footballer.’
Everton striker Richarlison tweeted a picture of Maradona in a Brazil shirt, with just a sad face emoji to accompany it.
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