Pele, Messi, others pay tribute to Maradona – Newstrends
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Pele, Messi, others pay tribute to Maradona

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  • Pele: I hope we can play football together in the sky
  • Diego is eternal, says Mess

Pele paid tribute to his fellow all-time great Diego Maradona after the Argentina legend’s death at the age of 60, saying, “One day, I hope we can play football together in the sky.”

The Brazilian three-time World Cup winner has consistently been compared as Maradona’s closest competitor in debates and polls to decide the greatest footballer of all time.

Pele, 80, issued heartfelt praise for Maradona, writing on his official Twitter account: “What sad news. I lost a great friend and the world lost a legend.

“There is still much to be said, but for now, may God give strength to family members. One day, I hope we can play football together in the sky.”

Maradona’s death was confirmed by Argentina’s football association. He had been in hospital in Buenos Aires after surgery to remove a blood clot on the brain earlier this month.

He captained his country to World Cup glory in Mexico in 1986, and later led Napoli to two Serie A titles in 1987 and 1990.

Lionel Messi, the greatest Argentina player of the current generation, wrote on Instagram: “A very sad day for all Argentines and for football. He leaves us but does not leave, because Diego is eternal.

“I keep all the beautiful moments lived with him and I wanted to take the opportunity to send my condolences to all his family and friends. RIP.”

Argentina eliminated England from the 1986 finals at the quarter-final stage, as Maradona scored twice. The first was a blatant handball – ‘the Hand of God as Maradona described it – and the second a stunning solo effort.

Gary Lineker, who was playing for England that day, tweeted: “By some distance the best player of my generation and arguably the greatest of all time.

“After a blessed but troubled life, hopefully he’ll finally find some comfort in the hands of God. #RipDiego”

Lineker later added on BT Sport: “I played for a Rest of the World side at Wembley, when I was at Barcelona, all the great players like (Michel) Platini on the pitch were all totally in awe of him.

“The first thing he did in the dressing room was sit there in just a pair of shorts, juggling his socks on his left foot for about five minutes.

“Then he went out on the pitch and did something incredible, one of the most unbelievable things I have even seen on a football pitch.

“He juggled the ball all the way out to the centre circle, when he got there, still juggling, he went ‘bang’ and kicked the ball up as high as he could, then waited.

“It came down; he went ‘bang’ and did it again. He did it 13 times and the most he ever did was walk three paces to it.

“All of us were sitting there saying: ‘that is impossible’.”

European football’s governing body UEFA held minute’s silences before all Wednesday night’s Champions League matches in tribute to Maradona.

Boca Juniors, where Maradona made his name before securing a then world-record transfer to Barcelona in 1982, tweeted: “Eternal thanks. Eternal Diego.”

Asif Kapadia, who directed the 2019 film Maradona, tweeted: “Can’t quite believe DM has gone. Hard to process.

“He always seemed indestructible. I had 10 hours with the man!! I touched his left foot. We did our best to show the world the man, the myth, the fighter he was. The greatest.”

Peter Reid, another member of the England side which suffered from the left foot – and hand – of Maradona in 1986, spoke highly of the South American’s incredible footballing gift, exhibited so gloriously during the 2-1 quarter-final win.

He said, “The crowd in the stadium exploded in terms of the first goal being given. There were a few of us running after the Tunisian referee but they didn’t see it. It was cute the way he did it, but to us on the pitch, it was obvious.

“My Spanish ain’t great and his Scouse wasn’t great, but I met him in Dubai a few years ago and I did ask him about it. He laughed, and he reiterated to me that it was the ‘Hand of God’. I am going to argue, because he cheated. But as bad as that one was, the second one was a great goal.”

Regarding that second goal, a slaloming solo effort voted the best of the century on an online FIFA poll in 2002, Reid said:”It’s something that I’ve seen once or twice, if I’m being honest. We were playing against someone who was at the absolute height of his career and as bad as the first goal was, that was outstanding.

“I saw him go past the great Alan Hansen in 1981 for the first time. He had this in his locker. He made people, like the No 16 [Peter Reid], look foolish.”

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said: “There was a banner in Argentina some time ago when it said ‘it doesn’t matter what you have done with your life, it matters what you have done with our lives’.

“I think Maradona would have done in our generation. There are a few incredible players in history, and he is one of them.”

Cristiano Ronaldo, who alongside Messi is regarded as one of the game’s greatest current players, also offered his own personal tribute.

The Juventus and Portugal star posted on Twitter: “Today I bid farewell to a friend and the world farewells to an eternal genius.

“One of the best ever, an unmatched magician. Leaves too soon but leaves a boundless legacy and a void that will never be filled. RIP. You will never be forgotten.”

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Super Falcons beat Cameroon in Women’s Olympic qualifier

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Super Falcons beat Cameroon in Women’s Olympic qualifier

The Super Falcons of Nigeria on Monday defeated the Indomitable Lionesses of Cameroon by a lone goal in the second leg of their Olympic qualifier played in Abuja.

The first leg had ended goalless in Yaoundé, Cameroon last week.

The Falcons have by this victory qualified for the next round.

Esther Okoronkwo’s 14th minute strike gave the Nigerian women the victory and moved to the fourth round of the CAF Women’s Olympic qualifier where they will face the winner between South Africa and Tanzania in April.

At the match played at the Moshood Abiola Stadium in Abuja, Okoronkwo broke the deadlock to hand the Falcons an early lead from a goalmouth scramble off Jennifer Echegini’s assist.

Echegini almost doubled the lead for Nigeria but the Cameroonian goalkeeper denied her from close range in the 31st minute.

In the 37th minute, Rasheedat Ajibade thought she had slotted in the second goal but got stopped by the Cameroonian goalkeeper’s point-blank save.

Two minutes later, Ashleigh Plumptre set up Okoronkwo with a long pass but the latter blasted the ball over the bar from close range.

In the 86th minute, Aboudi Onguene headed the ball from close range but goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie denied her.

One minute into added time, Cameroon’s Enganemben Annie got sent off for an awful conduct.

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Nigerian footballer slumps, confirmed dead during club competition

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Olofin Moses, popularly known as Evra

Nigerian footballer slumps, confirmed dead during club competition

Olofin Moses, popularly known as Evra, a player with Jordan FC Ogbomoso slumped and died while featuring in a match between his club and Day Bright FC.

An eyewitness revealed that during the Coaches Cup competition, the late footballer was not with the ball and not in contact with any of the players when he slumped and efforts to revive him proved abortive.

He was confirmed dead at Ladoke Akintola University Teaching Hospital LAUTECHTH and his body has been deposited at a morgue.

Chairman NFCA Ogbomoso Council, Alhaji Bashiru Abdulazeez, in a statement, said the association has decided to Suspend all football activities in the town until further notice.

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“Coaches Cup has been suspended and no training activities in all our clubs until Wednesday 28th February to mourn the departed soul.” He said

His coach, Ayoola Ayantoye David, popularly known as FÉHLÉ” while confirming the incident said “Moses was not sick, because we don’t allow sick players to feature in any match, when he came in this afternoon he was hale and hearty, he was even joking with other players, the match was less than 10 minutes when the sad incident happened.

He was alone and suddenly we saw him going down, efforts to revive him did not yield, His demise is a personal and great loss to me because he was a devoted and reliable player, a loyal disciple, he stood by me, he did support the team financially and always encourage other players, so we are going to miss him.

This is the first time I am experiencing such and it is painful but God knows better. I pray Almighty God to continue to comfort us, his family and the team at large

Nigerian footballer slumps, confirmed dead during club competition

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UCL: Osimhen helps Napoli snatch late draw against Barca as FC Porto defeat Arsenal

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Victor Osimhen

UCL: Osimhen helps Napoli snatch late draw against Barca as FC Porto defeat Arsenal

Victor Osimhen scored as Napoli drew 1-1 with Barcelona in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League (UCL) second-round match.

The 25-year-old equalized for the Serie A champions in the 75th minute, after Robert Lewandowski put Barcelona ahead at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on Wednesday.

Osimhen spun away from Inigo Martinez inside the box after Zambo Anguissa’s pass reached him. The Lagos-born striker rolled the ball past Ter Stegen, who went the wrong way, and into the goal.

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The match marked Osimhen’s first start for Napoli since December 23, 2023, when he was sent off in a 2-0 loss to Roma.

He played an important role in the Super Eagles of Nigeria’s silver-winning effort at the just ended Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cote d’Ivoire.

In the other game of the night, Galeno’s late goal helped FC Porto defeat Arsenal 1-0 at the Estadio do Dragao.

Galeno picked up the ball 35 yards outside Arsenal’s goal area deep into stoppage time, proving that the best play was saved for last. The Brazilian carried the ball forward before finding his place and bending a shot past Raya’s stretched limbs into the net.

UCL: Osimhen helps Napoli snatch late draw against Barca as FC Porto defeat Arsenal

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