Lionel Messi pays tribute to Diego Maradona and reflects on “very sad day for Argentines”

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Lionel Messi has lamented a "very sad day for all Argentines" after the death of Diego Maradona, who passed away aged 60 after suffering a heart attack.

Messi has been compared to Maradona throughout his playing career on account of his nationality, low centre of gravity and his intricate, sublime control of the ball.

The 33-year-old played for Argentina under his idol Maradona's management for two years, including at the 2010 World Cup.

And Messi took to Instagram to write an emotional tribute to his compatriot on Wednesday evening.

"A very sad day for all Argentines and for football," the Barcelona superstar said. "He leaves us but does not leave, because Diego is eternal.

Messi accompanied his emotional tribute with a picture on Instagram
(Image: [email protected])

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"I keep all the beautiful moments lived with him and I send my condolences to all his family and friends. Rest in peace."

Messi has regularly hailed Maradona as the greatest player of all time and claimed he will never match his achievements despite winning numerous Ballon d'Ors and trophies.

”Even if I played for a million years, I’d never come close to Maradona,” Messi said. “Not that I’d want to anyway. He’s the greatest there’s ever been.”

Is Diego Maradona the greatest footballer who ever lived? Have your say here.

Messi played under Maradona for the national team for two years
(Image: AFP/Getty Images)

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Both synonymous with the No. 10 jersey, Maradona also frequently lauded Messi and insisted his legacy does not rest on leading Argentina to the World Cup.

"He is enjoying playing football and goes by opponents with ease," Maradona said. "Leo cannot deliver the World Cup on his own. Even if he does not win a World Cup, we will still remember him."

Meanwhile, Maradona criticised Barcelona over their treatment of Messi only last month in a show of support for his countryman.

Maradona is most-fondly remembered for his sensational seven seasons at Napoli – which came after a difficult two-year spell at Camp Nou.

"I knew it was going to end badly and I thought Leo was going to leave," Maradona told Argentinian newspaper Clarin . "It happened to me too. Barcelona is not an easy club and he has been there for many years and was not treated as he deserves.

"He gave them everything, he took them to the top and one day he wanted to leave to get a change of scenery and they said no."

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