'Unparalleled magician, eternal great': Pele, Messi, Ronaldo pay respects to Maradona

Diego Armando Maradona, a legend and a World Cup winner, passed away on Wednesday in Tigre, Buenos Aires.
File photo of Maradona
File photo of Maradona
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Football legend Pele of Brazil led rich tributes to Argentine Diego Armando Maradona, a legend himself and a World Cup winner, who passed away on Wednesday, aged 60, in Tigre, Buenos Aires. "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," wrote Pele on Twitter. Argentina and Barcelona forward Lionel Messi said "Diego is eternal".

"A very sad day for all Argentines 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," said Messi. Portugal and Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo called Maradona an "eternal genius".

"Today I bid farewell to a friend and the world bids farewell to an eternal genius. One of the best of all time. 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," he tweeted.

Brazil and Paris St Germain forward Neymar shared a photo of a younger self with Maradona who is seen affectionately clutching him, on Instagram, and called him a "legend of football".

Former England striker Gary Lineker, who as a member of the England team tasted defeat at the hands of Argentina at a 1986 World Cup quarter-final match, was also effusive in praise. He said Maradona was "by some distance, the best player of my generation and arguably the greatest of all time".

"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," said former Argentina and Tottenham midfielder Ossie Ardiles.

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