Diego Maradona dies: A great friend and a legend – fellow great Pele offers emotional tribute

Oleh Russell Greaves 26 November 2020 7
Diego Maradona dies: A great friend and a legend – fellow great Pele offers emotional tribute

Pele hopes he will one day "play ball together in the sky" with "great friend" Diego Maradona after the Argentina legend died at the age of 60.

Maradona's passing was confirmed by the Argentine Football Association (AFA), with tributes soon flooding in for a much-loved sporting figure.

The Argentina and Napoli great had undergone a routine operation for a subdural haematoma after being admitted to hospital due to concerns over anaemia and dehydration.

But on Wednesday, two weeks after being discharged, the AFA announced Maradona had died, with Brazil icon Pele quickly taking to Twitter to show his respect for man who is widely regarded as the greatest rival to his own claim as the best of all time.

"What sad news," Pele wrote. "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."

No cause of death was stated, but it has been reported he suffered a heart attack.

Maradona, the captain and inspiration behind Argentina's World Cup success in 1986 before going on to coach his country, had been hospitalised just days after turning 60.

He appeared in a fragile state when he briefly made an appearance as his Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata side played a match on the evening of his birthday last month.

The mercurial Maradona won 91 caps for his country between 1977 and 1994, scoring 34 goals at international level.

He started his career with Argentinos Juniors before joining Boca Juniors and went on to play for Barcelona, Napoli, Sevilla and Newell's Old Boys before returning to Boca in 1995.

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