Here, we look at some of the best quotes on Maradona both from the man himself and from others in football as reported by AFP.
Maradona in his own words
– “To see the ball, to run after it, makes me the happiest man in the world.”
– “I made mistakes, and I paid for them. But the ball is still pure,” — Speaking to the crowd at his 2001 testimonial.
– “You can say a lot of things about me, but you can never say I don’t take risks.”
– “I am black or white, I’ll never be grey in my life.”
– “When I wear the national team shirt, its sole contact with my skin makes it stand on an end.”
– “I hate everything that comes from the United States. I hate it with all my strength.”
– “Suck it, and keep sucking it!” — To journalists who had doubted him as Argentina coach.
– “There would be no debate about who was the best footballer the world had ever seen, me or Pele. Everyone would say me.”
– “Pele should go back to the museum.”
On the Hand of God
– “I was waiting for my teammates to embrace me and no one came… I told them, ‘Come hug me or the referee isn’t going to allow it’.”
– “If I could apologise and go back and change history I would do. But the goal is still a goal, Argentina became world champions and I was the best player in the world.”
On Lionel Messi
– “Messi scores a goal and celebrates. Cristiano (Ronaldo) scores a goal and poses like he’s in a shampoo commercial.”
Maradona in the words of others
– “Even if I played for a million years, I’d never come close to Maradona. Not that I’d want to anyway. He’s the greatest there’s ever been.” — Lionel Messi.
— “Diego, for all Argentinians, is God. And he always will be.” — Carlos Tevez.
— “What (Zinedine) Zidane could do with a ball, Maradona could do with an orange.” — Michel Platini.
— “The best of the lot, no question… I saw Maradona do things that God himself would doubt were possible.” — Former Brazil star Zico.
— “The best I ever played against was Maradona.” — Former AC Milan and Italy defender Paolo Maldini.
— “Maradona. When he was on form, there was almost no way of stopping him.” — Former AC Milan and Italy defender Franco Baresi, when asked who was the best player he faced.
— “Maradona is a God to the people of Naples. Maradona changed history. In 80 years, we had always suffered, fighting against relegation, yet in seven seasons with him we won two leagues, a UEFA Cup, two Italian Cups. I’m a fan too and to live those years with Maradona was incredible.” — Naples native Fabio Cannavaro, who was in the youth ranks at Napoli when Maradona was there and later won the World Cup with Italy in 2006.
— “The crucial difference with Pele is that Maradona wasn’t surrounded by great players; he had to carry the team himself. If you took Maradona out of Argentina, they would not win the World Cup, but I think Brazil without Pele would still have won.” — Eric Cantona.
— “In Argentine football there is a before and after Maradona.” — Julio Grondona, former head of the Argentine football association.
— “Diego, what planet are you from?” — Argentine television commentator Victor Hugo Morales immediately after the Goal of the Century against England in 1986.
Source: Agence France-Presse (AFP)