Diego Maradona's lawyer Matias Morla criticised the emergency services and their delay in attending to the Argentina and Napoli great following his death.

Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata head coach Maradona – arguably football's greatest ever player – died of natural causes at the age of 60 on Wednesday.

Maradona was discharged from hospital a fortnight ago following brain surgery, having undergone a routine operation for a subdural haematoma after being admitted to hospital due to concerns over anaemia and dehydration.

Thousands gathered to farewell the football legend in Buenos Aires on Thursday during three days of national mourning in his homeland, where Maradona's coffin was draped in the Argentina flag at Casa Rosada – the presidential mansion – before being transported to a cemetery.

In the aftermath of Maradona's passing, Morla denounced the emergency services as he called for an investigation.

"Today is a day of profound pain, sadness and reflection. I feel in my heart the departure of a friend whom I honoured with my loyalty and companionship to the end of his days," Morla said in a statement published via his social media channels.

"I bid him farewell in person and the wake should be an intimate moment for the family.

"In terms of the report from the Prosecutor San Isidro, it is inexplicable that for 12 hours my friend has had no attention or check-up from the personnel dedicated to these ends. The ambulance took more than half an hour to arrive, which was a criminal idiocy.

"This should not be overlooked and I will ask for it to be investigated until the end of its consequences. As Diego told me, 'you are my soldier, act without pity'.

"To define Diego in this moment of deep desolation and pain I can only say: He was a good son, he was the best football player in history, and he was an honest person. May you rest in peace, brother."

Maradona – the captain and inspiration behind Argentina's World Cup success in 1986 before going on to coach his country at the 2010 showpiece – had been hospitalised just days after turning 60.

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

Maradona won 91 caps for Argentina 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.

Maradona had the best years of his club career in Italy, playing a massive part in Napoli winning the Serie A title in the 1986-87 and 1989-90 seasons.

Playmaker Maradona also lifted the UEFA Cup with Napoli in 1989 and he won three trophies during his time at Barca – including the Copa del Rey in 1983.

Maradona also had stints in charge of Textil Mandiyu, Racing Club, Al-Wasl, Fujairah and Dorados de Sinaloa in Mexico before being appointed by Gimnasia last year.

Dries Mertens said it was "tough to pull that shirt on" after Napoli wore the famous number 10 shirt in honour of Diego Maradona prior to their Europa League win over Rijeka.

Argentina and Napoli great Maradona – arguably football's greatest ever player – died of natural causes at the age of 60 on Wednesday.

Napoli's first match since the passing of their most iconic star this week was played out to the noise of songs and fireworks despite the empty stands at the Stadio San Paolo, where Maradona guided the Italian team to unprecedented Scudetto success in 1987 and 1990.

Captain Lorenzo Insigne laid a wreath before kick-off on Thursday, while the Napoli team lined up in 'Maradona 10' shirts – a jersey that was retired long before Maradona's death. The World Cup winner's name was displayed around the border of the pitch in Naples.

Reflecting on the emotional night, which saw Napoli defeat Croatian visitors Rijeka 2-0, Mertens told Sky Sport Italia: "It was an awful moment for me, so I can only imagine how those who lived through his time at Napoli must have felt.

"He made such a big impact on this city and for everyone in the south of Italy.

"I want to be positive, and focus on my memories of a smiling man who loved football."

"It was tough to pull that shirt on," he said. "In some ways, it was always a dream, but not like this."

Mertens is Napoli's all-time leading goalscorer with 128 across all competitions since joining the club in 2013.

The Belgium international moved clear of Marek Hamsik (121) atop the list in June, having surpassed Maradona (115) to move into second spot last year.

Mertens used social media to apologise to Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata head coach Maradona on Wednesday, writing via Instagram: "You were the first thing that came to my mind when I signed for Naples. Wearing the blue shirt will mean even more from now on.

"Napoli lost part of its soul today. You were, and will always be, an inspiration to all of us. If my name has ever been placed next to yours, I apologise, I will never be at your level. What you did for "our" city will go down in history forever. It was an honour to have met you. Forever my idol."

Asked about his apology, Mertens said: "I apologised to him, because my name was used in the same sentence as his and that's not right. He was and always will be unique."

Jose Mourinho said Diego Maradona would always call him after big defeats as a manager, the Tottenham boss remembering the Argentina and Napoli great after his death.

Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata head coach Maradona – arguably football's greatest ever player – died of natural causes at the age of 60 on Wednesday.

Thousands gathered to farewell the football legend in Buenos Aires on Thursday during three days of national mourning in his homeland, where Maradona's coffin was draped in the Argentina flag at Casa Rosada – the presidential mansion.

Former Real Madrid, Inter, Chelsea and Manchester United manager Mourinho paid tribute to World Cup winner and friend Maradona following Tottenham's 4-0 rout of Ludogorets in the Europa League on Thursday.

"Maradona and Diego, Maradona the world knows and the world never forgets," Mourinho told reporters during his post-match news conference.

"I made sure that my son knows a lot about him, even being born after Diego Maradona as a player and I know my son will make sure that one day when he is a father he will not let his kids forget. It was similar with my Dad and Di Stefano.

"I never saw Di Stefano play football, my Dad made sure I knew about Di Stefano because with this generation, we have players from my generation and Diego in my generation was what everybody knows.

"Then there is Diego the guy and that one I miss. I feel sorry that I didn't spend more time with him, I would love. His family, his big friends and colleagues are very privileged to spend and know Diego well.

"I know him well enough and in my big defeats, he would always call me. In my victories, never but I will miss Diego. Of course I am very sad but I have a smile because with every minute I spent with him, it was to laugh."

Maradona was discharged from hospital a fortnight ago following brain surgery, having undergone a routine operation for a subdural haematoma after being admitted to hospital due to concerns over anaemia and dehydration.

The captain and inspiration behind Argentina's World Cup success in 1986 before going on to coach his country at the 2010 showpiece, Maradona had been hospitalised just days after turning 60.

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

Maradona won 91 caps for Argentina 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.

Maradona had the best years of his club career in Italy, playing a massive part in Napoli winning the Serie A title in the 1986-87 and 1989-90 seasons.

Playmaker Maradona also lifted the UEFA Cup with Napoli in 1989 and he won three trophies during his time at Barca – including the Copa del Rey in 1983.

Maradona also had stints in charge of Textil Mandiyu, Racing Club, Al-Wasl, Fujairah and Dorados de Sinaloa in Mexico before being appointed by Gimnasia last year.

Football returned to Naples on Thursday but normality did not as the city continued to mourn the death of legend Diego Maradona.

Napoli's first match since the passing of their most iconic star this week was played out to the noise of songs and fireworks despite the empty stands at the Stadio San Paolo.

Fans were kept away for the Europa League clash with Rijeka, but Neapolitans instead gathered outside the stadium, which could soon be named after Maradona.

Captain Lorenzo Insigne laid a wreath before kick-off, while the Napoli team lined up in 'Maradona 10' shirts - a jersey that was retired long before Maradona's death. His name was displayed around the border of the pitch.

After an emotional two days, Gennaro Gattuso's side turned in a laboured performance but still ran out 2-0 winners.

Former Napoli defender Armando Anastasio - a Neapolitan, of course - scored a scruffy own goal to break the deadlock in the first half, with Hirving Lozano's well-taken second from the bench making sure of victory.

But attention soon turned back to the man who used to grace the San Paolo, unsurprisingly the centre of Gattuso's post-match comments.

"Diego is the pride of this city," the coach told Sky Sport Italia. "They saw the best footballer in the world.

"He represented the number 10, a whole people, he made them dream. Many guys are called Diego. He is more important than San Gennaro."

Gattuso added: "I have many wonderful memories of Diego; I had the opportunity to dine with him a few times.

"He died but will never die, because he was an extraordinary person. He did so many extraordinary things. He also made some mistakes in life, but he will live forever.

"Even last night, driving through the city to the hotel, you could see that the city breathed a different air. It is a great loss.

"Diego came from another planet, a legend."

It is all to play for in the Tri Nations series as New Zealand look to exact revenge on Argentina in the penultimate round of the tournament on Saturday.

The Pumas made history by securing their first victory over the All Blacks in Sydney a fortnight ago, Nicolas Sanchez scoring all of their points in a famous 25-15 triumph.

Mario Ledesma's side will be desperate to secure a win that would move them above New Zealand into top spot as Argentina mourns the death of Diego Maradona, arguably the greatest ever footballer who passed away on Wednesday aged 60.

New Zealand were licking their wounds last weekend when Argentina held hosts Australia to a 15-15 draw and will be expected to come out firing on all cylinders at McDonald Jones Stadium.

We use Opta data to preview the showdown in Newcastle, where the two sides start level on six points along with the Wallabies, as New Zealand play their final game.

 

FORM

New Zealand have lost their last two Tests, having gone down 24-22 to Australia in the third round. The last time the All Blacks went on a longer losing run was a five-match span from July to August in 1998.

Argentina are undefeated in three Tests, winning two and drawing one – the Pumas have not gone more than three without a loss since a four-match winning streak five years ago.

The Pumas can boast the best tackle success rate (89 per cent) in the Tri Nations and are the only side yet to lose a scrum on their own feed (11/11).

ONES TO WATCH

All Blacks captain Sam Cane has hit more attacking rucks (65) than any other player in 2020 Tri Nations, while prop  Joe Moody will win his 50th cap.

Argentina lock Guido Petti has stolen the most lineouts (3) of any player in the tournament, as many as the entire New Zealand squad combined.

Mourners and police clashed at the funeral of Diego Maradona as thousands gathered to bid farewell to the football legend on Thursday.

The Argentina and Napoli great, who underwent brain surgery earlier this month, died of natural causes at the age of 60 on Wednesday.

His body is lying in honour at Casa Rosada - the presidential mansion in the heart of Buenos Aires - during three days of national mourning in his homeland.

Maradona's coffin was draped with Argentina's national flag and football shirt, which bared his trademark number 10 on the back.

Thousands of people wishing to pay their respects joined the line at the Plaza de Mayo square, with the first in line allowed to enter the building at 06:00 local time (09:00GMT). 

The wake was scheduled to last for 10 hours, with the first few reserved for Maradona's family and former team-mates.

However, as the numbers continued to swell, officers in riot gear struggled to contain the crowds and Argentine outlet Clarin reported tear gas and water cannons being used.

Footage emerged on social media of bottles and fences being launched near Maradona's temporary place of rest.

Maradona is to be buried at the Jardines de Bella Vista cemetery on the outskirts of the city, which is reportedly where his parents were laid to rest.

Fans of Maradona's former clubs also paid tribute to the legendary attacking midfielder, with makeshift shrines set up in Naples, Seville and Barcelona.

Speaking on Thursday, meanwhile, Maradona's lawyer Matias Morla called for a full investigation into the circumstances that led to his death.

"It is inexplicable that for 12 hours my friend has had no attention or check-up from the personnel dedicated to these ends," he added on the statement on Twitter.

"The ambulance took more than half an hour to arrive, which was a criminal idiocy."

Maradona, who captained Argentina to World Cup glory in 1986 and went on to coach his country, is survived by five children and his former wife, Claudia Villafane, who he split with in 2004.

The top divisions in Spain and France will hold tributes to Diego Maradona before each of this weekend's matches.

Argentina great Maradona died on Wednesday in his homeland, having reportedly suffered a heart attack.

All games in Spain's LaLiga and the Segunda Division in the coming matchday will be preceded by a minute's silence, competition organisers said in a statement.

LaLiga said the pre-match tributes will convey condolences "to his family, friends and all the fans around the world who remember him".

Maradona spent two seasons with Barcelona, who face Osasuna at home on Saturday, before returning to LaLiga with Sevilla in 1992.

At Barca's Camp Nou stadium, flags were flown at half-mast on Thursday, the day on which the 1986 World Cup-winning star was being laid to rest in Argentina.

In France, the pre-game protocols for Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 will undergo "exceptional" changes for this weekend as a mark of respect for Maradona.

The Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) said: "At this moment of great sadness for football, the LFP, the clubs and the UNFP (the French footballers' union) wanted to place this 12th matchday under the star of Diego Maradona."

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis says it would be "right" to rename the club's stadium in honour of Partenopei legend Diego Maradona following his death on Wednesday. 

Maradona – widely considered to be one of football's greatest ever players – died at the age of 60 after a suspected heart attack. 

A World Cup winner with Argentina, Maradona enjoyed stunning success in Naples, where he guided Napoli to unprecedented Serie A glory in 1986-87 and 1989-90 – the Italian team are yet to add to their only two Scudetto honours.

As Napoli fans and Naples natives mourn the death of Maradona, De Laurentiis confirmed the Stadio San Paolo is likely to be named after the football icon.

In a letter written to Maradona on Napoli's official website, De Laurentiis said: "You leave us with a great testament of what it means to be a man of fragility, strength and absolute love for life and one's neighbour. A unique, inimitable champion.

"Your weaknesses, your imperfections, your mistakes are tantamount to your immense greatness, though none of that compares to your legend.

"Many have said you represent the synthesis of genius and unruliness. An artist of the beautiful game, your unique brushstrokes are to be remembered in the pantheon of the greatest exponents. Like a restless work of Caravaggio, whose indomitable and unruly nature is forgiven for its immense greatness.

"I believe it is right to name the San Paolo after you, so we can keep you with us as a witness of the excellent path this team has taken.

"Your years here remain indelible in the memories of the people of Naples – symbolic of a coveted redemption and yearned-for resurrection.

"Thank you, Diego. You are, and will always be, with all of us."

Maradona won 91 caps for Argentina 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, Sevilla and Newell's Old Boys, as well as Napoli, before returning to Boca in 1995.

Maradona also had stints in charge of Textil Mandiyu, Racing Club, Al-Wasl, Fujairah and Dorados de Sinaloa in Mexico before being appointed head coach by Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata last year.

Diego Maradona was an "artist" who did not know what it was like to play with pressure, according to Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa.

Argentina great Maradona passed away on Wednesday at the age of 60, with reports indicating the former Napoli, Boca Juniors and Barcelona star had suffered a heart attack.

The world of football has since been in mourning, with tributes flooding in for the 1986 World Cup-winning player, a man known for his controversies as well as his footballing triumphs.

Ahead of Leeds' Premier League clash with Everton on Saturday, Bielsa – who was this week included in the five-person shortlist for The Best FIFA Men's Coach 2020 Award – hailed Maradona's impact not just in Argentina, but as an "idol" around the world.

"He couldn't be bigger. He was and will continue to be an idol," Bielsa told a news conference.

"Given the fact he's not here with us anymore brings us great sadness. Having lost an idol is something that makes us feel weak.

"He was an artist. There is recognition in what he gave to the fans. The idol makes us believe that what he does, we're all capable of.

"That's why the loss of an idol is always felt by those who are excluded the most."

Argentina's government has confirmed there will be a three-day period of national mourning for Maradona, who was discharged from hospital a fortnight ago following brain surgery for a subdural haematoma after being admitted to hospital due to concerns over anaemia and dehydration.

Maradona's greatest club achievements came with Napoli, whom he joined in 1984, inspiring the club to their first ever Serie A title in 1986-87.

That successful campaign followed on from an outstanding World Cup at Mexico 1986, with Maradona scoring five goals and providing five assists as he captained Argentina to glory.

In total, he appeared in 21 World Cup matches across four successive tournaments between the ages of 21 and 33, and Maradona is one of just three players to captain his country in two different men's World Cup finals, having done so in 1990 as well as 1986, where he scored what is widely renowned as one of the greatest goals of all time in a 2-1 quarter-final win over England – just four minutes after the infamous 'Hand of God' incident.

"Everything he did as a footballer had a beauty which cannot be matched," Bielsa said of the 'Goal of the Century', when Maradona ran rings around England's midfield and defence before slotting home. "It was a work of art.

"Players with such unique brilliance don't know what it is to play with pressure."

Diego Maradona was a majestic footballer who was idolised by millions worldwide, but the Argentina great was not the best role model off the pitch.

His death at the age of 60 on Wednesday led to an outpouring of grief from within sport and beyond.

The 1986 World Cup winner is revered in his homeland, where thousands queued to file past his coffin on Thursday morning, as well as in Italy, where he played arguably the best football of his career for Napoli.

Maradona also battled major drug and alcohol problems, once shot at journalists, had a turbulent private life and took a swipe at Pope John Paul II.

Those episodes all form part of the legend and the bigger picture when it comes to remembering the most talented player of his generation.

DRUGS DON'T WORK

Maradona was said to have first dabbled in drugs in the mid-1980s, and cocaine began to play a big part in his career. In Naples, a city where chaos plays a big part in the daily life of many, Maradona lived on the edge, risking his health with the Class A drug while attempting to still produce on the pitch.

His form began to fall away, and comeuppance came with a 15-month drugs ban imposed in 1991, before Maradona moved to Sevilla.

A seemingly resurgent Maradona was sent home from the 1994 World Cup after testing positive for a banned stimulant, and drugs continued to be a problem for Argentina's favourite son after he retired from playing. He later claimed to have given up drugs in 2004, following serious heart problems that led him to spend time in intensive care.

GUN DRAMA

Maradona was sentenced to a suspended jail sentence of two years and 10 months in 1998, four years on from an incident that saw him shoot at journalists with an air rifle.

The February 1994 episode occurred outside his Buenos Aires home, and it was reported that four people were injured.

Footage showed Maradona perched behind a Mercedes car, pointing the gun.

TAXING TIMES

He claimed to have been "treated like the worst criminal" by Italian authorities that were pursuing him for allegedly unpaid taxes.

Speaking in 2016, Maradona told the Corriere della Sera newspaper: "I don't owe anything. They have been hounding me unfairly over the last 25 years for €40million with €35million in fines for an alleged tax violation that every single judge has ruled did not exist."

Maradona added, according to ESPN, that he had been singled out as the only footballer to have jewellery and watches taken away by authorities.

HOW WOULD HE MANAGE?

Putting Maradona in charge of the Argentina national team looked like a dicey move, and his two-year reign effectively ended with a 4-0 defeat to Germany in the 2010 World Cup quarter-finals.

Argentina had been in danger of missing out on the tournament but won their last two qualifying matches to scrape into the finals.

Maradona was predictably elated with qualification, proving his doubters wrong, and ran into trouble when he told reporters to "suck it and keep on sucking it".

FIFA imposed a two-month ban for the lewd outburst, with Maradona apologising for his comments.

CEILING A DEAL WITH THE POPE

By the late 1980s, Maradona was arguably the world's most celebrated sports star.

Such celebrity status opens doors, and he met with Pope John Paul II.

Maradona told a story in his autobiography, I Am Diego, of how he took issue with the pontiff's concern for poverty-stricken children, given the luxury set-up at the Vatican.

He wrote: "Yes, I did argue with the Pope. I argued with him because I've been to the Vatican and seen the gold ceilings. And then I hear the Pope saying that the Church was concerned about poor kids. So? Sell the ceilings, mate! Do something!"

HAND OF GOD

From the Pope, to the Hand of God.

Maradona's status in England will forever be tainted by his controversial opening goal for Argentina against Bobby Robson's team in the 1986 World Cup quarter-final.

By punching the ball past goalkeeper Peter Shilton, who has not forgiven Maradona, the mercurial captain of Los Albiceleste became an instant hate figure for English supporters.

Maradona claimed it was God's hand that helped Argentina past their rivals at the Stadio Azteca, a step nearer their eventual triumph and his finest moment in the game.

Argentinians queued through the night before saying a last farewell to Diego Maradona as the superstar's body lay in state in Buenos Aires.

The Casa Rosada, which is the presidential mansion in the heart of Argentina's capital, has been given over as the focal point of mourning as the country reels from the loss of the 1986 World Cup-winning captain.

Maradona, who starred in Europe with Barcelona and Napoli, died on Wednesday of natural causes. He recently underwent brain surgery, after being admitted to hospital due to concerns over anaemia and dehydration.

As large numbers joined the line at the Plaza de Mayo square, the first in line were allowed to enter the building at 06:00 local time (09:00GMT). The wake was due to last for 10 hours.

The newspaper La Nacion reported pushing and running amid the clamour, with admirers of Maradona, many wearing masks amid the coronavirus pandemic, eager to be among the first to file past his body.

It said Maradona would be buried at the Jardines de Bella Vista cemetery, which is reportedly where his parents were laid to rest.

According to the newspaper, relatives of Maradona and footballers including Carlos Tevez and Martin Palermo, along with former team-mates of Maradona, had already paid their respects in person before the mansion was opened to the public.

Maradona's body lay in a wooden coffin, with a flag of Argentina on top, together with a shirt of the national team and one of Boca Juniors, the club he played for in two separate spells.

Many of those who entered the building blew kisses and applauded, with some throwing shirts towards the coffin.

Television coverage showed those who stopped for more than a couple of seconds being moved on by security staff.

Argentina's president Alberto Fernandez said of Maradona: "Diego was Argentina in the world, he filled us with joy and we will never be able to pay him so much joy.

"The best thing about Diego is that he was an absolutely genuine man, he was not a fake man, he was a genuine man who expressed everything with the force with which he played football, defended what he wanted, mistreated what he hated. That was Maradona in its purest form."

It was from the balcony of the Casa Rosada that Maradona celebrated Argentina's World Cup triumph with the people of the country.

Elsewhere in the city on Thursday, banners declaring thanks for the career of Maradona hung from buildings, and video screens showed highlights of his playing career.

Diego Maradona's death made headlines across the globe as the world marked the passing of the Argentinian football legend.

The 60-year-old died in Buenos Aires on Wednesday, two weeks after being discharged from hospital having undergone a routine operation for a subdural haematoma.

After that news was announced by the Argentine Football Association, tributes flooded in for the Napoli great and on Thursday news of his death made front and back pages all over the planet.

Here is a collection of headlines on the day after Maradona's death.

 

In his home country, the newspaper Cronica superimposed Maradona atop the World Cup trophy, back turned and walking away, under the headline "Adios" (goodbye).

Clarin ran a picture of Maradona holding the World Cup aloft, with the words "Conmocion mundial: murio Diego Maradona" (World upheaval: Diego Maradona dies).

Uruguayan outlet El Observador went with "A que planeta te fuiste" (Which planet did you go to?), in reference to his otherworldly talent.

El Pais, a Spanish newspaper, said the former Barcelona forward was "Un dios del football" (A God of football).

Also in Spain, Marca's front page featured the words "If I die, I want to be reborn and I want to be a footballer... and I want to be Diego Armando Maradona again".

In France, L'Equipe ran a full front-page image of Maradona in his prime wearing the blue and white of his country, with a headline which declared "Dieu est mort" (God is dead).

Germany's Kicker dedicated its front page to the news, putting the dates of Maradona's birth and death under a picture of the star playing for Argentina.

La Gazzetta Dello Sport showed Maradona kissing the World Cup trophy and went with the words "Ho visto Maradona" (I've seen Maradona).

It was against England that Maradona scored his famous 'Hand of God' goal as he led Argentina to World Cup glory at Mexico 86. English newspaper The Sun was among the outlets to play on that phrase, coined by the man himself.

"In the hands of God," read that publication's front page, which featured an image of the incident as the diminutive forward beat England goalkeeper Peter Shilton to the ball. The paper described Maradona as "England's World Cup nemesis and one of the all-time greats".

The Mirror ran a similar headline, adding: "Diego Maradona, a hero, a villain, a cheat and a genius... dead at 60".

Placing a little more emphasis on his achievements, The Times opted for a picture of Maradona celebrating that 1986 success in Mexico City, accompanied by the headline "Millions mourn Maradona's death".

And the Daily Express, using both the handball and trophy photographs, described Maradona as "the eternal, flawed genius".

Peter Shilton was "saddened" to learn of the death of Diego Maradona but remains vexed by the Argentina great's Hand of God goal against England at the 1986 World Cup.

At the age of 60, Maradona died on Wednesday, leaving Argentina and the football world in shock.

Ill health and drug addiction had plagued the former Barcelona and Napoli star following his playing days, and he recently underwent surgery for a blood clot on his brain.

Tributes have been paid by the likes of Pele, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Shilton has more reason than most to feel a sense of antipathy towards Maradona, who punched the ball past him for Argentina's first goal in their 2-1 quarter-final win against England 34 years ago.

Shilton told the Daily Mail: "It has bothered me over the years. I won't lie about that now. People say I should have cleared the ball anyway and that I let a smaller man outjump me. That's rubbish. He had the run on me but that can happen.

"He wouldn't have punched it if he knew he could head it, would he? Of course not. So I am OK with all that.

"No, what I don't like is that he never apologised. Never at any stage did he say he had cheated and that he would like to say sorry. Instead, he used his 'Hand of God' line. That wasn't right.

"It seems he had greatness in him but sadly no sportsmanship."

Shilton tweeted on Thursday to describe Maradona as "the greatest footballer I ever played against without question", but he told the Daily Mail that attempts to unite him with Maradona over the years had come to nothing, having been given no assurances the little maestro intended to apologise.

And although England's goalscorer in that 1986 match, Gary Lineker, has spoken fondly of Maradona, Shilton suspects many in the team that lost out that day at the Estadio Azteca share his grievances.

"Most of the England team who played in Mexico feel the way I do to this day," Shilton said.

Diego Maradona had a "magic" about him that was able to unite and excite a divided Argentina, according to Pumas rugby coach Mario Ledesma.

Speaking hours after it was announced that Maradona had died at the age of 60 in Buenos Aires, Ledesma spoke in Australia ahead of Argentina's Rugby Championship clash with New Zealand.

He highlighted the universal appeal of Maradona, saluted his attitude towards representing his nation, and told of how the footballer was a fervent supporter of Argentinians in sport the world over.

Maradona notably visited England to cheer on Argentina in the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

"He had an attraction, like the world stopped when he was there," Ledesma said.

"It was like magic and he was an example of how you should play for this jersey, and to be fair he was passionate about every team. He would go and watch tennis, hockey, rugby, football, everything.

"Whenever there was an Argentinian jersey he was there and he united people in Argentina, and in Argentina sometimes it's difficult to unite people who think different."

Political instability, economic problems and social unrest have afflicted Argentina during Maradona's long career in football, which included spells in Europe with Barcelona, Napoli and Sevilla.

At the time of his death, Argentina's 1986 World Cup-winning captain was coach of top flight club Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata.

The country is now entering three days of mourning.

"He gave a lot of happiness to a lot of people in difficult times," Ledesma, 47, said.

"Obviously he's somebody that came from very little and he became the king of the world almost, so that gives hope for a lot of Argentinians that struggle and think that could be possible for them too."

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis revealed the club's stadium could be renamed to honour Partenopei great Diego Maradona after his death on Wednesday.

Maradona – arguably football's greatest ever player – died at the age of 60 after a suspected heart attack, the Argentine Football Association (AFA) confirmed midweek.

A World Cup winner with Argentina, Maradona enjoyed great success in Naples, where he guided Napoli to unprecedented Serie A glory in 1986-87 and 1989-90 – the Italian team are yet to add to their only two Scudetto honours.

As Napoli fans and Naples natives mourn the death of Maradona – a God-like figure in the city – De Laurentiis said the Stadio San Paolo could be named after the football icon.

"It could be an idea to name the stadium San Paolo-Maradona, it's something we can think about," De Laurentiis told RMC Sport.

Naples mayor Luigi de Magistris also tweeted: "Let's name the San Paolo stadium after Diego Armando Maradona!!!"

Gennaro Gattuso's Napoli host Rijeka in their Europa League Group F clash at the Stadio San Paolo on Thursday.

Napoli are second heading into the matchday four fixture, adrift of AZ Alkmaar on goal difference.

"I'd like to project Maradona's face [onto the stadium] during the whole game tomorrow," De Laurentiis said.

Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata head coach Maradona was discharged from hospital a fortnight ago following brain surgery, having undergone a routine operation for a subdural haematoma after being admitted to hospital due to concerns over anaemia and dehydration.

Maradona, who went on to coach Argentina at the 2010 World Cup, had been hospitalised just days after turning 60.

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

Maradona won 91 caps for Argentina 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.

Maradona also had stints in charge of Textil Mandiyu, Racing Club, Al-Wasl, Fujairah and Dorados de Sinaloa in Mexico before being appointed by Gimnasia last year.

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