Following the death of Argentina football legend, Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi has expressed sadness over his passing away.
It was confirmed on Wednesday that he had died, prompting tributes to flood in from all over the world.
Cristiano Ronaldo, who is a five-time Ballon d’Or winner was among those to grieve the loss of the “eternal genius” on social media.
While Messi also took to Instagram to make it clear that the legendary figure will never be forgotten.According to him, “A very sad day for all Argentines and for football. He’s left us but he hasn’t gone, because Diego is eternal,” he wrote alongside pictures of the two of them together.
“I’ll keep all the great times I enjoyed with him and want to take the opportunity to send my deepest respects to all his family and friends. RIP.”
As a matter of fact, Messi was long seen as the heir to Maradona’s throne as the king of Argentine and indeed world football.
Even Maradona made it clear at a time in 2006 that Messi will be his replacement.
While speaking to reporters in that year, he said: “I have seen the player who will inherit my place in Argentine football and his name is Messi.
“Messi is the best player in the world, along with Ronaldinho. I see him as very similar to me… He’s a leader and is offering lessons in beautiful football. He has something different to any other player in the world.”
In fact, Messi followed in Maradona’s footsteps by wearing the No. 10 jersey at Barcelona and then donned the same number for Argentina as well as the captain’s armband.
When Maradona spent two years as the coach of the Argentina national team, Messi played under him.
He led Argentina to the 2010 World Cup as a coach, in which Messi scored four goals as the team’s captain before they were eliminated by Germany at the quarter-finals stage.
However, unfortunately for Messi while Maradona as a player led Argentina to World Cup success in 1986, he has not been able to claim the trophy with the national team despite scoring 71 times in 140 caps.
Messi’s closest effort to lifting the trophy was in 2014, when Argentina fell to Germany in extra-time in the final.