“A very sad day for all Argentines and for football. He leaves us but does not leave, because Diego is eternal,” Messi wrote in a message on Instagram, accompanied by two images of himself with the late football legend. 

“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.”

Such is his own prodigious talent, Messi has been compared with Maradona ever since he burst onto the scene as a teenager.

Messi was seen as the heir apparent to Maradona’s crown as the nation’s footballing king – a label he has often struggled to live up to on the international stage. 

READ MORE: ‘We’ll miss you forever’: Argentina announces 3 days of national mourning after Diego Maradona dies aged 60

Much has been written of the pair’s relationship down the years, as well the pressures on Messi to lead his country to World Cup glory just as Maradona did in such spellbinding fashion in Mexico in 1986.

However, Messi has always tried to play down any comparisons, famously once saying“Even if I played for a million years, I’d never come close to Maradona. Not that I’d want to anyway. He’s the greatest there’s ever been.”   

Messi followed Maradona’s footsteps in heading to Barcelona from his homeland, becoming an icon in his own right and winning six Ballon d’Or crowns with the Catalans. 

Maradona and Messi enjoyed a player-coach relationship when the former took charge of the Argentina national team at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, although the campaign ended in disappointment as they were knocked out at the quarterfinal stage.

More recently, Maradona was seen giving avid support to Messi and Argentina at the World Cup in Russia in 2018. 

Messi was among the millions to pay tribute to the late icon. 

Fellow generational great Cristiano Ronaldo hailed Maradona’s legacy, while Pele – who is inevitably mentioned in conversations with Maradona on the topic of football’s greatest ever player – said he looked forward to “kicking a ball together up in the sky” with his friend.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Bruins wise not to linger on Rask leaving bubble

If there are any lingering hard feelings from Tuukka Rask leaving the playoff bubble, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy wasn’t sharing them publicly. Instead, Cassidy insisted that it’s “full-steam ahead” for Rask and the Bruins, as far as the 2020-21…

Jimmie Johnson honors Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt with Southern 500 car

For his final Southern 500, Jimmie Johnson will pay tribute to his two fellow seven-time Cup Series champions. The paint scheme for Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet will be a combination of schemes driven by Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty. More:…

Diego Maradona HOSPITALIZED in Argentina with ANEMIA and EXTREME FATIGUE just days after icon had celebrated his 60th birthday

The former Argentina hotshot, who turned 60 on Friday, has entered a clinic in the city of La Plata, near Buenos Aires, CNN has said. Maradona’s personal doctor, Leopoldo Luque, told the outlet that the head coach of local side La…

Watch Stephen Curry pass Reggie Miller for No. 2 on all-time three pointers list

It is only a matter of time before Stephen Curry has made more threes than anyone in NBA history. Saturday night, he passed Hall of Famer Reggie Miller for No. 2 on the all-time three pointers made list with 2,561.…