Lineker, Pele, Ronaldo, Others Pay Tribute As Maradona Dies At 60

Tributes were paid to Diego Maradona on Wednesday after the Argentinian football legend died aged 60.

The World Cup winner suffered a heart attack at home just a fortnight after undergoing surgery for a blood clot on his brain.

Maradona, who was also being treated for alcohol dependency, is regarded as one of the greatest ever footballers.

He famously scored the ‘Hand of God’ goal against Bobby Robson’s England in the 1986 Word Cup quarter-final.

Just four minutes later he scored arguably the best-ever World Cup goal, weaving past four opponents before beating Peter Shilton.

The diminutive midfielder went on to win the tournament in Mexico, achieving god-like status in Argentina.

Maradona with the World Cup in 1986

Brazilian legend Pele led the tributes to Maradona, saying: “I lost a great friend and the world lost a legend.

“May God give strength to family members. One day I hope we can play ball together in the sky.”

Match of the Day host Gary Lineker, who played against the Argentinian in Mexico, paid tribute to him on Twitter.

He described him as “by some distance the best player of my generation and arguably the greatest of all time”.

Lineker added: “After a blessed but troubled life, hopefully he’ll finally find some comfort in the hands of God. #RipDiego.”

Gary Lineker and Diego Maradona (Image: Getty)

Cristiano Ronaldo posted on Instagram : “Today I bid farewell to a friend and the world farewells to an eternal genius.

“One of the best ever, an unmatched magician. Leaves too soon but leaves a boundless legacy and a void that will never be filled.

“RIP. You will never be forgotten.”

Maradona was an icon at former club Napoli

Argentina’s president Alberto Fernandez announced three days of national mourning following Maradona’s death.

He tweeted: “You took us to the top of the world. You made us immensely happy.

“You were the greatest of all. Thank you for having existed Diego. We’re going to miss you forever.”

Former side Napoli tweeted a photo of the player with the words: “Always in our hearts. Ciao, Diego.”

Club spokesman Nicola Lombardo added: “We are in mourning. We feel like a boxer who has been knocked out.”

Players in Wednesday night’s Champions League games held a minute’s silence for Maradona before kick-off.

A fleet of ambulances went to the player’s home in the exclusive San Andres neighbourhood of Buenos Aires at around midday.

Local media said one of his personal nurses found him collapsed from a suspected heart attack.

Emergency paramedics battled to restart Maradona’s heart but he was eventually declared dead at the scene.

Rumours of his death spread in Buenos Aires before his lawyer Mathias Morlahas confirmed the dreadful news.

Maradona had been discharged from hospital two weeks ago to recover at home after suffering a blood clot.

It was the latest in a string of health problems to hit the former footballer, who battled drug and alcohol abuse.

In 1999 and 2000 he was taken to hospital suffering heart problems, the second time requiring a respirator to breathe.

In 2004, he was again treated in hospital for severe heart and respiratory problems linked to his drug abuse.

He also underwent two gastric bypass operations to control his weight and received treatment for alcohol abuse.

In January, he had surgery to stem bleeding in his stomach and in July he underwent a knee operation.

The Argentine Football Association described Maradona as a “legend”, adding yesterday: “You will always be in our hearts.”

Former Argentina manager Cesar Luis Menotti said: “I’m devastated. I can’t believe it. I’m absolutely gutted.

“It’s terrible and a tragic surprise because measures had been taken to make sure he was being looked after.”

England captain Harry Kane tweeted: “Privileged to have met him. Very sad news. RIP Diego Maradona.”

Kane’s Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho said on Instagram: “Don Diego… damn dude I miss you.”

Former Spurs star Ossie Ardiles, who played alongside Maradona, said he was “the best footballer in the history of football”.

He added: “So many enjoyable moments together. Impossible to say which one was the best. RIP my dear friend.”

Former Spain goalkeeper and fellow World Cup winner Iker Casillas described Maradona as a “genius of this sport”.

His astonishing life was documented in the award-winning documentary ‘Maradona’ last year.

Director Asif Kapadia said: “We did our best to show the world the man, the myth, the fighter he was. The greatest.”

Graeme Souness, who played against Maradona in Italy, said: “You were in the presence of greatness when you played against him.

“Some of the things he could do with the ball, you were blessed to share a pitch with him.

“He was tiny but he was fearless. He was an absolute warrior and ridiculously brave.”

Italian legend Andrea Pirlo tweeted: “The god of football goes away. Thanks for everything Diego.”

The FA posted photos of Maradona playing against England with the words:

“Unforgettable. Farewell, Diego. A legend of our game.”

Born in a shanty town on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, Maradona started his career with Argentinos Juniors.

He then moved to Boca Juniors, winning the title with his boyhood club before moving to Barcelona in 1982.

Maradona scored 38 goals in 58 games for the Catalan giants but failed to help them win La Liga.

In 1984 he moved to Italian side Napoli for a then-world record transfer fee of £6.9million.

He helped the side win their first ever Serie A title in 1987 and again for a second time in 1990.

But off the field he was heavily using cocaine and linked to the notorious Neopolitan mafia.

At his last World Cup in America in 1994 he was sent home in disgrace after testing positive for ephedrine.

Mirror online

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