BUENOS AIRES: A one-minute silence or applause, at the request of world football federation FIFA, was being staged across the world this weekend in memory of Diego Maradona after tributes flooded in from across the world after his death and funeral.
Pele: “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.”
Osvaldo Ardiles, ex-Tottenham and Argentina: “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.”
Lionel Messi: “A very sad day for all Argentinians 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.”
Cristiano Ronaldo: “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.”
FIFA president Gianni Infantino: “Today is an unbelievably sad day. Our Diego left us. Our hearts – of all of us who loved him for how he was, and for what he represented – have stopped beating for a moment. Our silence, our tears, our pain is the only thing we are feeling deep inside us at this time.
“I always said it and I can just repeat it now, more convinced than ever: What Diego has done for football, for making all of us fall in love with this beautiful game, is unique. It is, as he is, simply immense… Diego deserves our eternal gratitude for that, for having amazed us with his incredible talent and yes, for having been so unique: for having been Diego Armando Maradona, a legend, a hero, and… a man,” he added.
“Diego may be eternal now, but for forever, Diego will also have a most prominent place in the incredible story of all football fairy tales. Our deepest sympathy goes to his family and friends at this difficult time. Rest in peace, dear Diego. We love you.”
Aleksander Ceferin, UEFA president: I am deeply saddened to hear of the death of Diego Maradona, one of world football’s greatest and most iconic figures. I was in touch recently to wish him well, and this news comes as a considerable shock to me.
Diego Maradona achieved greatness as a wonderful player with a genius and charisma of his own. He was a hero in his native Argentina, with whom he enjoyed World Cup glory, and became an eternal idol for the supporters of Napoli, who will never forget the successes he brought to the club during his memorable spell in Italy.
He will go down in history as someone who set football alight and thrilled fans young and old with his brilliance and skill. I have instructed UEFA to hold a minute’s silence in memory of Diego at this week’s matches.
Gary Lineker, England rival in 1986: 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”
Boca Juniors: Eternal thanks. Eternal Diego.
Real Madrid: One of the greatest players in all history. Diego Armando Maradona leaves an immense legacy, which has become a myth for millions of fans around the world.
Mark Bullingham, chief executive of the Football Association: “On behalf of the Football Association, our deepest condolences go to Diego Maradona’s family and friends, the Argentine Football Association and the Argentinian people – as well as all the clubs he served.
“Undoubtedly one of the finest footballers to ever play the game, his remarkable achievements on the global stage will never be forgotten. It is important today that we celebrate his football genius and mourn his passing at the age of just 60.”
Graeme Souness, who played against Maradona during his time in Italy with Sampdoria: “An absolute genius on the pitch, but troubled off it. He has an argument for being the greatest player ever, I personally think it is another Argentinian (Lionel Messi) but that is only down to longevity.
“He is one of the greatest players to ever kick a ball and 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, and I think anyone who played against him would say that.
“He was tiny but he was fearless. There were players around at that time who were known to be over physical but he was an absolute warrior and ridiculously brave. He’d get kicked but he would come back for more. There have only been a handful of players in history who have been blessed with his ability. He was unique.”