Great Britain

‘Diego is eternal’: Lionel Messi pays tribute to Argentine football icon Maradona

The Barcelona superstar is widely-considered as one of Maradona’s only rivals to the honour of the greatest footballer of all time and is similarly adored in his home country.

“A very sad day for all Argentines and for football,” he wrote on Instagram. "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."

“What sad news. I lost a great friend and the world lost a legend,” he said. "There is still much to be said, but for now, may God give strength to family members. One day, I hope we can play football together in the sky."

He captained his country to World Cup glory in Mexico in 1986, and later led Napoli to two Serie A titles in 1987 and 1990.

Argentina eliminated England from the 1986 finals at the quarter-final stage, as Maradona scored twice. The first was a blatant handball - 'the Hand of God as Maradona described it - and the second a stunning solo effort.

Gary Lineker, who was playing for England that day, tweeted: "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"

European football's governing body Uefa held minute's silences before all Wednesday night's Champions League matches in tribute to Maradona.

Boca Juniors, where Maradona made his name before securing a then world-record transfer to Barcelona in 1982, tweeted: "Eternal thanks. Eternal Diego."

Asif Kapadia, who directed the 2019 film Maradona, tweeted: "Can't quite believe DM has gone. Hard to process.

"He always seemed indestructible. I had 10 hours with the man!! I touched his left foot. We did our best to show the world the man, the myth, the fighter he was. The greatest."

Additional reporting by PA

Football news:

In Spanish for 70 years there is a phraseology about Alcoyano. It's about an outsider who does not give up until the last
Andrea Pirlo: Criticism is inevitable when you are suddenly appointed Juve coach, but the results will say everything for me
Zidane on relegation from the 3rd League club: It's not a shame, let's not go crazy. Real Madrid wants to win, sometimes it doesn't come out
Real Madrid were eliminated from the Spanish Cup for the fifth time by a team from the 3rd league
Solskjaer on 2-1 with Fulham: Having conceded, Manchester United woke up and played a good match. Pogba played well
Manchester United won a Premier League match for the 94th time, conceding first. This is a record of the tournament
Pirlo took the first trophy as a coach-snatched the Super Cup from Gattuso. And once they won together