Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola pay tribute to Diego Maradona: ‘He made football better’

Malik Ouzia
·2-min read
 (Hulton Archive)
(Hulton Archive)

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola have paid tribute to the late Diego Maradona following Wednesday night’s Champions League action.

The Argentinian legend passed away earlier in the day, aged 60, after suffering a heart-attack in his homeland, sparking a global outpouring of grief.

Guardiola was preparing his Manchester City side for their Champions League early kick-off against Olympiacos when news of Maradona’s passing broke and a period of silence was observed prior to kick-off in all the evening’s games as a mark of respect.

Guardiola said: “There was a banner in Argentina one year ago that I read, that said: ‘No matter what you have done with your life Diego, what matters is what you have done for our lives.’

“He gave a lot of joy and he made football better.

“What he did for Napoli [winning two Serie A titles] and for Argentina in 1986 [winning the World Cup] was something unbelievable.

“Rest in peace and on behalf of Manchester City a big hug for all his family.”

Maradona arrived in Europe in 1982, when he left Boca Juniors to join Spanish giants Barcelona, the club Guardiola supported as a boy and would go on to star at.

“When I was a little boy with my dad coming to see Barca with Maradona was incredible,” Pep added. “Unfortunately, he had a big injury.

“When I arrived at the academy he had moved to Napoli. His impact in world football, the love and the joy, I was not with him in the locker room, but all the people who were express his generosity and how he thought of them to make football better.

“On the pitch he was unique. A once in a generation. It is sad news.”

Klopp, meanwhile, took time to pay tribute to Maradona ahead of his side’s 2-0 defeat to Atalanta later in the evening, recalling his childhood memories of watching football’s most famous no.10.

“It’s like, I’m 53 years old and it feels like my entire life, he was part of it,” the German told BT Sport. “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.

“It’s like, from an international point of view there’s Pele, Maradona, 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.”

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