Luis Milla recalled fond memories of training and playing with Argentina and Napoli great Diego Maradona at LaLiga powerhouse Barcelona.

Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata head coach Maradona – arguably football's greatest ever player – died at the age of 60 after a suspected heart attack, the Argentine Football Association (AFA) confirmed 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.

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, having arrived from Barca in 1984.

The World Cup winner celebrated three trophies during his time at Camp Nou, where he claimed Copa del Rey, Copa de la Liga and Supercopa de Espana glory in 1983.

Former team-mate Milla, who emerged from Barca's youth team in 1984 and went on to represent the Catalan giants before joining bitter rivals Real Madrid in 1990, hailed Maradona.

"When he was there [at Barca], I was playing in the youth team and [Cesar Luis] Menotti, who was the main coach then used to organise matches every Thursday between the first team and a selection of players from the academy," Milla, who also faced Maradona during his time at Sevilla, told Stats Perform News.

"We played many games against the first team. For me, having at that at 18 years old, you can imagine the dream of playing against Maradona. Then when he came back to Spain, I also played against him when I was a Real Madrid player.

"We who belong to his era and also younger players have seen his football. Someone that has been able to win a World Cup in the way that he did, and be so important for that national team, he was so great, even though I believe that he could has been better in terms of performing if you look at his talent and peaks."

Maradona, who went on to coach his country 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.

From the slums of Buenos Aires to the face of football. Former England midfielder Peter Reid hailed Diego Maradona following his death.

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

Argentina and Napoli great Maradona was discharged from hospital a fortnight ago following brain surgery, having undergone a routine operation for a subdural haematoma after the World Cup winner was admitted to hospital due to concerns over anaemia and dehydration.

Reid came up against Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata head coach Maradona on the international stage and he told Stats Perform News: "He is like, in Argentina and Napoli – Naples – he is like God. He is like the King, royalty and that's Diego Maradona.

Englishman Reid also recalled Maradona's infamous 'Hand of God' goal and his stunner against England at the 1986 World Cup.

Hailed by many as the greatest goal of all time, Maradona picked up the ball inside his own half and dribbled past four England players before calmly rounding Peter Shilton in the quarter-final clash – Reid one of the players left behind during the mesmerising run.

The moment of magic arrived four minutes after Maradona handled the ball and scored as Argentina eventually went on to claim the World Cup 34 years ago in Mexico.

"Well, he cheated, he cheated in the first goal," Reid said. "The second was an artist at work, at the best of his ability. I got to talk to him – through an interpreter – on a couple of occasions. He was a very warm human being and I think his legacy – I think he was a flawed character, I think his drug abuse was well known and that might have caught up with him.

"But, I tend to go on the positives, on what he did on the football pitch; and what he did for the nation; and what he did for the likes of Napoli and Boca Juniors. I mean, you watch a game for Boca Juniors and there's still flags for him and there's flags in Naples about him. I mean the legacy is magnificent. So yeah, a flawed character, but was that because he didn't get any privacy?

"Don't forget he was born in the slums of Buenos Aires and he made his way up to the pinnacle of his career. You've got to give him all the credit in the world for that. Yeah, we are all human beings and we have all got faults. I tend to look at his plus points, which is [that] he was one of the greatest players to ever walk the planet."

Maradona, who went on to coach his country 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 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.

"At Barcelona I think injuries hindered him," Reid added. "But when he went to Napoli, 'wow'. I mean, if you go to Napoli, he is like – is it fair to say God? He is like a God there. I mean I know it is a ridiculous statement, but he is!

"And the other thing, I went to Argentina an awful lot watching football when I was a manager and a coach in Buenos Aires. And if you ask 99.9 per cent of Argentinians who the best player ever was, they will say Diego Maradona. Now why I am saying that is because of Lionel Messi who, let's have it right, is unbelievable. But, am I going to argue with Argentinians? No, no."

Marseille head coach Andre Villas-Boas urged FIFA to "withdraw the number 10 for all competitions" to honour Diego Maradona.

Maradona, widely regarded as one of the best players of all-time, died at the age of 60 on Wednesday after a suspected heart attack.

He starred in the number 10 for Napoli and Argentina during his playing career, and the shirt was retired by the Serie A club in his honour in 2000.

Villas-Boas wants to see FIFA go one step further and withdraw the number 10 completely.

"For Maradona, it's a hard blow. I would like FIFA to withdraw the number 10 for all competitions, all teams," he told a news conference after Marseille's 2-0 Champions League loss to Porto on Wednesday.

"I think it's the best tribute that can be given to the greatest player in the history of football. It is an incredible loss for the world of football."

Villas-Boas said he would always remember his one meeting with Maradona.

"Yes, I met him once. He was a guest at the Pinetina, the Inter Milan sports centre, when I was there," he said.

"And I remember this photo, next to my trophies in Porto. Because of that, I bought a watch when Hublot had them signed by Maradona. And this watch came with a jersey signed by him that I still keep. These are good memories.

"But Maradona wasn't just that. It's his genius from the world of football, the images he leaves us, the image of his warm-up in Naples, those kinds of things that are extraordinary.

"It's a loss for everyone. I only met him once, next to each other, it's a moment I won't forget."

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 y Esgrima La Plata 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.

Inter head coach Antonio Conte described Diego Maradona as "the poetry of football" following the Argentina and Napoli great's 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.

World Cup winner 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.

Conte came up against Maradona during his time with boyhood club Lecce in Serie A, and he lauded the former Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata head coach following Wednesday's 2-0 Champions League loss to Real Madrid.

"We are all shedding tears for the loss of a man who wrote football history and will always be an indelible figure in this sport," Conte told Sky Sport Italia.

"He was the poetry of football. I had the pleasure of playing against him, of marking him, and it still doesn't seem real that he's gone, especially as he was still young. It's very sad."

Madrid boss Zidane also spoke glowingly of Maradona after the LaLiga champions won at San Siro for the first time in their history.

Former France international Zidane – also a World Cup winner – added: "It's an enormous loss for the world of football.

"I have him engrained in my head because of what he did at the 1986 World Cup. I was 14 years old... I have no words. We're all very sad."

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.

Diego Maradona dragged Argentina to World Cup glory, triumphed in Italy and Europe with Napoli and won countless individual honours.

Along the way, the footballing great – who died on Wednesday at the age of 60 – scored some of the greatest goals the game has ever seen.

No matter the occasion, or indeed the opponent, Maradona was often unplayable – as can be seen from our selection of his five greatest ever goals.

 

Argentina v England (June 22, 1986)

Hailed by many as the greatest goal of all time, Maradona picked up the ball inside his own half and dribbled past four England players before calmly rounding Peter Shilton.

The moment of magic arrived four minutes after the infamous 'Hand of God' goal and helped Argentina into the semi-finals of the 1986 World Cup, which they went on to win.

 

Argentina v Belgium (June 25, 1986)

The goal scored by Maradona three days later, this time in the semi-finals, was not too dissimilar in that he had four opposition players between himself and the goal.

He slalomed between two of them, jinked past another – in the process taking out a fourth – and fired past Jean-Marie Pfaff for his second goal of the contest.

Napoli v Juventus (November 3, 1985)

Napoli ended their 12-year wait for a league victory over rivals Juventus thanks to Maradona's brilliance of a different kind. If the previous goals were all about neat footwork and clinical finishing, this was more to do with sheer audacity.

A large wall, set five metres from the ball, was not enough to stop the Argentine maestro delicately lifting the indirect free-kick into the one spot Stefano Tacconi could not reach.

Napoli v Hellas Verona (October 20, 1985)

This one was all about the technique - and the confidence to even think about taking it on. Maradona brought down the ball with his first touch, turned and sent a long-range drive flying over Giuliano Giuliani from a good 40 yards out.

What made it all the more special is that this strike came in a 5-0 thrashing of Verona, who were the reigning Serie A champions at the time.

Boca Juniors v River Plate (April 10, 1981)

Maradona spent a season with Boca Juniors before arriving in Europe and it soon became clear what a talent he would become.

His first spell at the club may have been short but he left behind plenty of memories, including a goal at the home of bitter rivals River Plate. With the angle against him, he squeezed in an effort with a masterful finish from the wing.

Pep Guardiola and Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp have paid tribute to Diego Maradona, with the Manchester City manager calling the Argentina great "a man of joy".

Maradona died aged 60 on Wednesday, with the former Boca Juniors, Barcelona and Napoli star reportedly suffering a heart attack, though that has not been confirmed.

After a stellar playing career, Maradona struggled with drug and alcohol problems, though will no doubt go down as one of the greatest players to grace the game.

Shortly after news of Maradona's death was confirmed, City faced Olympiacos in the Champions League, with Phil Foden's goal earning a 1-0 win for Guardiola's side.

Sergio Aguero was married to Maradona's daughter Gianinna, with whom he has a son, though the pair have since split.

Aguero came on as a substitute in Athens, and Guardiola offered his support to the Argentine striker before reminiscing about one of football's greats.

"Firstly, support for Sergio, Diego was his son's grandfather," Guardiola told reporters.

"It was a banner in Argentina I think, one year ago I read it. It said, no matter what you have done in your life Diego, it matters what you have done for our lives.

"I think it fits perfectly with what this guy gave us. The man of joy, the pleasure, and his commitment to world football, he made world football better.

"His performance, what he had done in Napoli, and especially the national team in Argentina, Mexico 1986, it was something unbelievable. Rest in peace and on behalf of Manchester City of course, a big hug for all of his family."

Guardiola joined Barcelona's academy just as Maradona left for Napoli in 1984, with the Argentinian going on to win two Serie A titles in Naples.

"When I was a little boy with my dad, sometimes I came to Barcelona to see Maradona play football, it was incredible," Guardiola continued.

"When I arrived to the academy he left to Napoli, I could not share time, being there in the academy, being close more for the Barcelona games.

"I was not in the locker room with him, but all the people in the locker room who was with him, express his generosity, his thinking for all of them, making a better position for world football, and on the pitch was something unique, for one or two generations, he was a player like 'wow'.

"It's sad news, we knew that it was not perfect."

Liverpool lost 2-0 to Atalanta in their Champions League match at Anfield, and Reds manager Klopp told BT Sport beforehand: "I'm 53 and it feels like my entire life, he was part of it. When I was very, very young – maybe eight or nine, 10 years old – I saw him for the first time and he was 16 or 17.

"In any video, juggling the ball, from that moment on he was the player for me. From an international point of view there's Pele, Maradona, [Lionel] Messi, if you want – one Brazilian and two Argentinians.

"I saw his documentary not too long ago; Diego was a sensational guy, Maradona had some struggles, let me say it like this. I will miss both."

Carlo Ancelotti regularly played against Maradona during his stint in Italy, and the three-time Champions League-winning manager also offered his tribute.

"You were always a genius. Today is a very sad day and a great loss, but you my friend are eternal," Ancelotti, now in charge of Everton, posted on his official Instagram account.

"Ciao Diego. Rest In Peace."

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has paid tribute to Diego Maradona, describing the Argentina legend as "simply immense".

Napoli great Maradona died aged 60 on Wednesday after reportedly suffering a heart attack.

Argentina president Alberto Fernandez has declared three days of national mourning after the news of Maradona's passing.

The former attacking midfielder, who was the player of the tournament when he captained his country to World Cup glory in 1986, is one of the all-time greats and Infantino says he deserves "eternal gratitude" for what he brought to football. 

Infantino told FIFA's official website: "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.

"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."

Maradona won the Serie A title twice during the best years of his club career at Napoli, while he also played for Barcelona, Sevilla, Argentinos Juniors, Boca Juniors and Newell's Old Boys.

He embarked on a coaching career after retiring, including a spell in charge of his country.

San Isidro attorney general John Broyad said Diego Maradona died of natural causes as authorities await an autopsy following the Argentina and Napoli great's death.

Maradona died at the age of 60 after a suspected heart attack, the Argentine Football Association (AFA) confirmed on Wednesday.

Regarded as one of the greatest's ever footballers, 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.

As the football and sporting world mourns the passing of one of the finest athletes to grace the planet, Broyad addressed the media outside the residence where Maradona died midweek.

"We can confirm, with great sadness, that affects the country and the entire world, the passing of Diego Armando Maradona, at approximately 12 noon today," Broyad said.

"The work of the forensic police got underway at 16:00 with investigators arriving at his residence and commencing their procedures.

"The personnel of forensic police departments of San Martin, San Isidro and La Plata, the most qualified departments overseeing procedures at private residences, inspected the body of Diego Armando Maradona.

"An autopsy will be carried out at the morgue of the San Fernando Hospital starting at 18:00. No sign of any foul play was noted, no sign of any violence was noted.

"The autopsy will be carried out in order to officially confirm the cause of death. At the moment, ahead of the autopsy and all the formalities, we can inform you that the death was a result of natural causes, without any, please wait, please wait, without any signs of violence. The autopsy will establish the cause of the death."

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 y Esgrima La Plata 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 has produced few more divisive figures than Diego Maradona.

The Argentina great died on Wednesday at the age of 60 following a cardiac arrest and, while opinions on his legacy may differ depending on where you live, his remarkable impression on the game is undoubted.

The abiding image of Maradona for most likely stems from the 1986 World Cup quarter-final between Argentina and England.

For so many in England, he will forever be remembered for arguably the most controversial goal in the history of football, which saw the diminutive Maradona somehow rise above the comparatively towering figure of Peter Shilton and divert a sliced clearance from Steve Hodge into the empty net with his hand.

But that act of what can at best be considered deceit did not take away from the majesty of his ultimately decisive second goal, dubbed the Goal of the Century, with the balletic grace with which he weaved past the helpless England defenders before rounding Shilton and slotting home the defining memory of Maradona for his adoring fans in his home country and scores of fans around the world.

That game perhaps encapsulated the man known as El Pibe de Oro (The Golden Boy). As England striker Gary Lineker, who scored the goal overshadowed by Maradona's brace at Estadio Azteca, said in a tweet paying tribute following news of his death, the Albiceleste legend led a "blessed but troubled life".

Raised in a poor family in Villa Fiorito, a shantytown on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, Maradona's blessings were evident from an early age. At just eight years old, his promise was discovered by a scout, Francisco Cornejo, and he was signed to the youth team of Argentinos Juniors.

"He did things that I have never seen anyone else do," Cornejo, who died in 2008, later said of Maradona.

Maradona made his Argentinos debut 10 days before turning 16 and marked it in fitting fashion by nutmegging an opponent within minutes of entering the pitch.

One hundred and sixteen goals in 166 games for Argentinos followed and resulted in Maradona receiving a dream move to Boca Juniors, though his spell at La Bombonera yielded only one league title and was marked by a difficult relationship with coach Silvio Marzolini before he moved to Barcelona in a world-record transfer in 1982.

Barca did not see Maradona at his best at the 1982 World Cup in Spain that preceded his debut for the Blaugrana, yet the impact he had on his cohorts at Camp Nou was stark.

"He had complete mastery of the ball," former team-mate Lobo Carrasco remarked. "When Maradona ran with the ball or dribbled through the defence, he seemed to have the ball tied to his boots."

His time in Catalonia delivered both brilliance and tumult in equal measure. Maradona became the first Barca player to receive a standing ovation from Real Madrid fans at the Santiago Bernabeu in 1983, but sustained a career-threatening ankle injury against Athletic Bilbao and was then involved in a brawl against the same opposition in the 1984 Copa del Rey final that hastened his exit from the club.

It was perhaps no surprise that the pinnacle of his international career coincided with that of his club career at Napoli, for whom Maradona will forever be an icon.

After being named player of the tournament at the '86 World Cup, Maradona inspired Napoli to their first Serie A title and triumph in the Coppa Italia. UEFA Cup glory followed in 1989 prior to a second league title a year later.

Napoli's Stadio San Paolo was the scene of glory for Argentina in a World Cup semi-final win over Italy, in which Maradona scored the ultimately decisive penalty in the shoot-out, though he could not ensure a successful title defence as West Germany prevailed in the final.

Italian football saw the best of Maradona, whom Franco Baresi described as his toughest opponent - "when he was on form, there was almost no way of stopping him," the Milan legend said.

Yet it also saw significant off-field struggles and he left Napoli after serving a 15-month ban for failing a drug test for cocaine, battling his addiction to the drug and alcohol until 2004.

He returned to Argentina by signing for Newell's Old Boys after a turbulent spell with Sevilla, with his international career ended in the wake of a positive test for ephedrine doping during the 1994 World Cup that resulted in him being sent home from the United States.

Retirement came on the back of a second two-year stint at Boca, but Maradona was rarely out of the spotlight even as he fought addiction and struggles with obesity, undergoing gastric bypass surgery in 2005.

His post-playing career also saw a string of brief coaching tenures, which included him leading Argentina to the quarter-finals of the 2010 World Cup, where they were thumped 4-0 by Germany. Maradona made sure his departure was fittingly acrimonious, levelling accusations of betrayal at the national team's hierarchy.

Maradona had seemingly found some stability in his coaching career at Gimnasia y Esgrima de la Plata when he was admitted to hospital this month having recently renewed his contract through the 2020-21 season.

"We live an unforgettable story," Gimnasia posted in a tribute on Twitter.

Blessed but troubled, tempestuous yet utterly bewitching to watch. Gimnasia's words struck the right chord.

His story was undeniably unforgettable and it is telling that, despite Lionel Messi's otherworldly exploits, it is Maradona who stands as the symbol of Argentinian football for so many.

As Messi wrote of Maradona on Instagram: "He leaves us but does not leave, because Diego is eternal."

Whether it's the Hand of God or the Goal of the Century, his presentation to hordes of Napoli fans or that goal celebration at the 94 World Cup. Maradona was the artist behind so many of the game's indelible images. Football is mourning the premature passing of an all-time great, but his legacy and impact will endure for decades to come.

Diego Maradona enjoyed a stellar career, playing for some of the world's biggest clubs and instilling himself in World Cup folklore.

The Argentina great passed away at the age of 60 on Wednesday. No cause of death was stated, though it was reported he suffered a heart attack.

While his career was not shy of controversy, at his best Maradona was simply unplayable, and enjoyed success in South America and Europe, as well as on the international stage.

We take a look at his five greatest achievements, from World Cup success with Argentina to an era of Serie A glory with Napoli.

 

Bernabeu ovation

It takes something truly special for Real Madrid fans to contemplate applauding a Barcelona player at the Santiago Bernabeu. Maradona delivered just that in June 1983, when he rounded Los Blancos goalkeeper Agustin and then, with the goal at his mercy, opted to sit the back-pedalling Juan Jose on the floor before tucking the ball home.

Maradona was given a standing ovation when he was later substituted – something that would not be repeated for a Barcelona player in that ground for another 22 years, when Ronaldinho was similarly honoured.

Goal of the century

Maradona's greatest ever goal is arguably the best ever in the history of the World Cup. He made the extraordinary seem easy as a matter of regularity and, on June 22, in a 2-1 quarter-final win over England, he did just that. In perhaps a summary of Maradona the man – and the player – his moment of magic followed on from possibly his most controversial act on a pitch; the 'Hand of God' goal.

Four minutes later, Maradona embarked on a mazy, remarkable run through the heart of the opposition and, within seconds, was coolly rounding England goalkeeper Peter Shilton to put Argentina into an unassailable lead.

World Cup glory

Following the win over England, 25-year-old captain Maradona led Argentina to a 2-0 semi-final victory against Belgium – scoring both goals once again – and a 3-2 triumph over West Germany in the final, as his country clinched their second World Cup crown.

Maradona finished the tournament in Mexico with five goals and a further five assists in seven games – no player has done that since at a single edition of a World Cup.

He went on to captain his country again at the next World Cup, Italia 1990, before featuring twice in World Cup 1994, and he holds the Argentina record for the most number of appearances in the World Cup, with 21, ahead of Javier Mascherano (20) and Lionel Messi (19).

Triumph in Napoli

When Maradona arrived at Napoli in 1984, the club had not won a Serie A title in their 61-year history. After scoring 14 goals to help Napoli to eighth place in his first season, and netting another 11 as they finished third in his second, Maradona was the catalyst for a historic performance from the Partenopei in 1986-87.

They finished the season as champions, three points clear of bitter rivals Juventus, and the city exploded into celebrations that included an informal day of holiday to enjoy the moment. The triumph was by no means down to Maradona alone, but he is remembered as their inspiration and star.

Last-gasp joy as Albiceleste boss

Maradona's career as a head coach cut a stark contrast to his playing days, but a lack of success at the helm of Textil Mandiyu and Racing Club did not prevent him taking charge of his country in 2008. The highlight of a tumultuous two-year spell came in October 2009, when Peru came to Buenos Aires for a World Cup qualifier Argentina desperately needed to win to revive their hopes of qualifying for South Africa 2010. Maradona's decision to play Gonzalo Higuain ahead of Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero proved a shrewd one as the striker gave Argentina the lead, but Peru levelled the match in the last minute through Hernan Rengifo.

The moment called for a hero and Martin Palermo, recalled to the national team by Maradona after a 10-year absence, scored the winner deep into injury time to prompt wild celebrations on the touchline and in the stands, with the image of Maradona sliding along the rain-soaked pitch on his belly is etched into the country's memory.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin says Diego Maradona "set football alight and thrilled fans young and old" and confirmed his death would be marked with a minute's silence prior to all Champions League and Europa League games this week.

The Argentina great, who played for Barcelona, Napoli and Sevilla as well as Argentinos Juniors, Boca Juniors and Newell's Old Boys in his homeland, died aged 60 after reportedly suffering a heart attack on Wednesday.

Ceferin said: "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."

Diego Maradona was saluted by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as an "eternal" wonder of the football world after his death at the age of 60.

Messi, a modern-day Argentinian superstar who followed in the footsteps of his idol by starring for Barcelona and the national team, posted a picture of himself with a beaming smile alongside Maradona.

He wrote: "A very sad day for all Argentines and for football. He leaves us but does not leave, because Diego is eternal.

"I keep all the beautiful moments I experienced with him and I wanted to take the opportunity to send my condolences to all his family and friends. RIP."

Pele hopes he will one day "play ball together in the sky" with "great friend" Diego Maradona after the Argentina legend died at the age of 60.

Maradona's passing was confirmed by the Argentine Football Association (AFA), with tributes soon flooding in for a much-loved sporting figure.

The Argentina and Napoli great had undergone a routine operation for a subdural haematoma after being admitted to hospital due to concerns over anaemia and dehydration.

But on Wednesday, two weeks after being discharged, the AFA announced Maradona had died, with Brazil icon Pele quickly taking to Twitter to show his respect for man who is widely regarded as the greatest rival to his own claim as the best of all time.

"What sad news," Pele wrote. "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."

No cause of death was stated, but it has been reported he suffered a heart attack.

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

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

The mercurial Maradona won 91 caps for his country 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.

Manchester City will reportedly opt against making a move for Barcelona star Lionel Messi.

Messi, 33, sensationally requested to leave Barca during the close season, but ended up staying with the LaLiga giants.

Still, talk about his future continues, with City the most strongly linked.

 

TOP STORY – MAN CITY WON'T TRY TO SIGN MESSI

Manchester City will not try to sign Barcelona star Messi, Spanish football expert Semra Hunter told Sky Sports News.

The report says Messi's age and wage demands are a major reason the Premier League giants will not pursue him.

Messi, a six-time Ballon d'Or winner, is out of contract at the end of the season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Are Real Madrid looking for a replacement for 35-year-old midfielder Luka Modric? Fichajes.net reports Madrid see Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic as the ideal replacement for Croatia star Modric.

- Barcelona will try to sign Manchester City defender Eric Garcia in January amid an injury crisis in defence, according to Sport. Gerard Pique (knee) and Sergi Roberto (thigh) are both set for spells on the sidelines. Meanwhile, Marca says Barcelona are set for a meeting to decide whether they should sign a replacement for Pique.

- Fabian Ruiz has impressed for Napoli, leading to interest from elsewhere. CalcioMercato reports Paris Saint-Germain are still targeting the midfielder.

- Amid uncertainty over his future at Inter, Christian Eriksen is linked with a return to the Premier League. Corriere dello Sport reports Manchester United and Arsenal are considering the former Tottenham star.

- With Memphis Depay and Moussa Dembele linked with moves, Lyon may be eyeing replacements. Le 10 Sport says Reims and Senegal forward Boulaye Dia and Leicester City forward Islam Slimani are both targets.

Napoli head coach Gennaro Gattuso believes Zlatan Ibrahimovic is better now than he was 10 to 12 years ago following his match-winning display for Milan.

Ibrahimovic scored twice as Milan returned to the top of the Serie A standings with a 3-1 win over 10-man Napoli on Sunday.

Evergreen Milan star Ibrahimovic became the oldest player to score at least 10 goals in the first eight Serie A matchdays, the 39-year-old surpassing Lazio's Silvio Piola (29 years old in 1942-43) for the record.

Ibrahimovic – who struck in the 20th and 54th minutes before hobbling off – also matched Gunnar Nordahl for second-most Serie A goals from the first eight games played of a season by a Milan player, only adrift of Marco Van Basten (12 in 1992-93).

Gattuso played alongside Ibrahimovic at Milan between 2010-12 – the pair helping the Rossoneri to their last Scudetto in 2011 – and the former hailed the veteran.

"Milan believe firmly in Ibra, they believe 100 per cent in what they are doing," Gattuso told Sky Sport Italia. "He seems I think even stronger now than he was 10, 12 years ago.

"They put the crosses in because they know he'll get on the end of them. What we did today was create lots of chances and not believe in them fully.

"It's about mentality. Football is about helping each other out, clubbing together, having a kind, reassuring word for your team-mate when they're struggling.

"There are too many people who act like professors, who want to teach you everything. This hurts me."

Milan, two points clear of high-flying Sassuolo, have collected at least 20 points from the first eight matchdays for the second time in the three points for a win era – the Italian powerhouse also achieved the feat in 2003-04 as they went on to secure the Scudetto.

Napoli are six points off the pace in sixth position, having lost two of their past three Serie A fixtures.

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