Brazilian football great Pele mourned his fellow legend Diego Maradona after the Argentine died Wednesday, saying he hoped they would “play together in the sky” one day.
“Sad news today. I have lost a dear friend, and the world has lost a legend,” Pele wrote on Instagram, alongside a picture of Maradona hoisting the World Cup trophy in 1986.
“There is much more to say, but for now may God give his family strength. One day, I hope, we will play soccer together in the sky.”
Pele and Maradona, who often vie for the title of best footballer in history, had just celebrated milestone birthdays last month: 80 and 60, respectively.
Pele had wished Maradona well on his birthday on 30 October writing, “May your journey be long and may you always smile, and make me smile, too!”
Maradona had likewise congratulated Pele on his 80th a week before, joining in what he called “the universal tribute to the King.”
The Brazilian and Argentine were jointly named best player of the 20th century by FIFA in 2000.
Meanwhile, football stars and clubs have paid tribute to Diego Maradona who died aged 60 on Wednesday.
The Argentine Football Association confirmed his death in a statement.
Maradona, one of the greatest footballers, had surgery to remove a blood clot in the brain in early November.
A few hours after his death, football stars, associations, administrators, and clubs paid their tribute.
Among them are Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe, Neymar, Micheal Owen, FIFA, Napoli, Arsenal, and England.
Ronaldo tweeted in Portuguese alongside a picture of him and Maradona, “Today, I say goodbye to a friend, and the world says goodbye to an eternal genius.
“One of the best ever. An unparalleled magician. He leaves too soon but leaves a legacy without limits and a void that will never be filled. Rest in peace, ace. You will never be forgotten.”
England described Maradona as “unforgettable”.
“Farewell, Diego. A legend of our game,” it tweeted.
PSG star Mbappe said Maradona will remain in football history together.
“RIP Legend. You will stay in the history of football forever. Thank you for all the pleasure you gave to the whole world,” he tweeted.
Micheal Owen added, “Quite simply a player like no other. Rest In Peace Diego Maradona.”
Retired Brazilian football great Pele was among the first to mourn the death of Maradona on Wednesday.
“Certainly, one day we’ll kick a ball together in the sky above,” Pele said in a brief statement.
Tottenham’s striker, Harry Kane, said, “Privileged to have met him. Very sad news. RIP Diego Maradona.”
Lionel Messi paid tribute to Maradona calling him “eternal” after his fellow Argentine died of a heart attack.
“A very sad day for all Argentines and football,” Messi wrote on Instagram. “He has left us but he will never leave us because Diego is eternal. I will keep all the beautiful moments that I lived with him and would like to send my condolences to all his family and friends. RIP.”
Mesut Özil added, “Very sad news. One of the best No. 10 in the world of football has ever seen has passed away. You will be missed, legend.”