Sun, Jul

Shaka, Yorke, Hart pay Maradona tributes.

THE death of football maestro Diego Maradona has prompted millions of tributes to pour in for the former Argentina captain, rated the greatest player of his generation and one of the very best ever footballers the world has produced.

And figures in local football have continued to add their voices to those mourning his death. Among them have been former national coach Stephen Hart and 2006 FIFA World Cup players Shaka Hislop and Kenwyne Jones, all of whom gave tribute on social media.

Hart said: “Diego personified every child with a ball’s dream of how football should be played. His caress of the ball was as mesmerising as what he did with it after. Diego brought romance to the game!”

Former Newcastle, West ham United and T&T goalkeeper Hislop reflected on both Maradona’s football skill which saw him win everything at club and national level, and his human frailties, which included a long history of drug addiction which even saw him being sent home from the USA 1994 FIFA World Cup due to a positive test.

“Diego Maradona was both genius and human in equal measure. He was courted by kings and a knight for the impoverished. He was capable of brute strength but yet played the game with an artistry unequalled. His life and career were the highest representation of the beauty and responsibility of this game, but also its pressures,” Hislop wrote.

“(The year) 2020 has taken a lot from all of us, and has done so again. Ray Clemence was a childhood idol of mine. But this year has also provided opportunity to take pause and reflect, to reminisce, and remind ourselves what’s important, and now, the difference this game has made in all our lives.”

A man of few words at times, Jones simply said: “S.I.P to the legend that is Maradona, condolences to your family and thank you for the joy you brought to football.”

Dwight Yorke: Thanks for the moments Diego!

I am indeed saddened by the passing of arguably of the best players of our lifetime. Diego was a larger than life sort of figure. We grew up wanting to be like him as a player. He inspired so many of us with his magical displays on the football pitch. It was hard not to like him and not admire what he was as a footballer who gave us so much memories and joy.

I had the opportunity interact with him on a few occasions and what a privilege it was, the last time being the FIFA Legends match leading up to the FIFA Best Awards in Zurich in 2017. We played on opposing teams in a most memorable game amongst friends.

A great talent that will live on forever. RIP