Tributes from the world of football are flooding in after Diego Maradona died at the age of 60 after suffering a cardiac arrest on Wednesday.
The football legend had a heart attack at his home just two weeks after leaving hospital where he underwent 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
Maradona had recently been in hospital for surgery after suffering a bleed on the brain
His former clubs and the Argentine national team’s Twitter account were among the first to pay tribute.
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.
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.’
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.’
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.