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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Saudi Arabia to host 2024 CAF Super Cup final

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Saudi Arabia to host 2024 CAF Super Cup final

African football governing body, CAF, has announced that the 2024 CAF Super Cup final between Al Ahly SC of Egypt and Zamalek SC of Egypt will be played in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on September 27 as part of Riyadh Season 2024, the body announced in a statement on Friday.

“CAF President Dr Patrice Motsepe and HE Turki Alalshikh announce Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, as hosts of the TotalEnergies CAF Super Cup Final 2024 as part of ‘Riyadh Season 2024’,” the statement said.

In the all-Egyptian club final, the current winners of the TotalEnergies CAF Champions League, Al Ahly SC and the current winners of the TotalEnergies CAF Confederation Cup, Zamalek SC will face off far away from home in the Middle East.

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“The TotalEnergies CAF Super Cup Final 2024 will feature the current winners of the TotalEnergies CAF Champions League, Al Ahly SC and the current winners of the TotalEnergies CAF Confederation Cup, Zamalek SC and will be played on Friday 27 September 2024 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia,” the statement added.

It is not the first time that CAF has hosted the Super Cup final outside of the continent. From 2019 to 2021, the one-off game was played in Qatar before it returned to the continent in the following year when Morocco hosted the 2022 edition.

The CAF Super Cup was hosted in the Middle East when Saudi Arabia staged the game in 2023 and will again return to the country.

Saudi Arabia to host 2024 CAF Super Cup final

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PSG stake €200m for Osimhen, Kvaratskhelia

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PSG stake €200m for Osimhen, Kvaratskhelia

French giants PSG have launched a shock €200 million bid for Nigeria striker Victor Osimhen and his Napoli teammate Khvicha Kvaratskhelia.

Osimhen has been available in the summer transfer market with a €130 million release clause, but Napoli is willing to lower their asking price to €100 million, as it is no longer a secret that Napoli intends to sell the Nigerian international.

The deal is said to be worth €110 million for Osimhen and €90 million for the Georgian.

According to Corriere dello Sport, PSG and Saudi powerhouse Al Ahli are the most interested parties in Osimhen.

However, Osimhen is not considering a move to the Saudi Pro League, while he also harbours a dream of playing in the Premier League.

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The French giants have now made an offer to lure the striker and Kvaratskhelia to France, offering the Serie A club the opportunity to break the deadlock that has emerged with Osimhen in recent weeks.

While Osimhen is available for sale, the Italian club has repeatedly stated that no deal is possible for Kvaratskhelia, who Napoli have reiterated on numerous occasions is not for sale. In June, PSG put €110m offer for the Georgia international winger, but this was knocked back for the 2022/23 Serie A champions.

Arsenal and Chelsea have both been linked with a move for the 25-year-old Nigeria hitman, yet Napoli’s insistence that they would have to pay the full value of his €130m release fee to secure his services has put both Premier League giants off.

As per Corriere dello Sport, De Laurentiis could accept a lower offer as long as it arrives quickly, allowing Napoli to sign Conte’s primary target, Romelo Lukaku.

PSG stake €200m for Osimhen, Kvaratskhelia

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Anthony Joshua set to break Tyson Fury record

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Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury

Anthony Joshua set to break Tyson Fury record

Anthony Joshua is set to break Tyson Fury’s British attendance record in his upcoming world title fight against Daniel Dubois.

Joshua will face Dubois for the IBF title on September 21 at Wembley Stadium, where promoters expect over 100,000 fans.

Fury set a British attendance record in April 2023, when 94,000 people packed Wembley Stadium to watch him defeat Dillian Whyte. In an interview with talkSPORT, promoter Frank Warren expressed confidence that the upcoming bout would exceed that figure.

“Oh, it is massive. I mean, we will apply to increase capacity, just as we did when Tyson Fury fought Dillian Whyte. And I think we’ve got it; I believe we’ll break the record. So, it looks really good.”

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Joshua, 34, is no stranger to huge sell-out stadium shows, having drawn over 90,000 fans at Wembley in 2017 when he defeated Wladimir Klitschko. He has also attracted 75,000 at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium and another 62,000 at Tottenham’s football ground.

However, his last two bouts took place in Saudi Arabia, where he secured knockout wins over Otto Wallin and ex-UFC champion Francis Ngannou.

Warren acknowledged the challenge Joshua posed but remained optimistic about Dubois’ chances.

“A lot of people are making Joshua a favourite, and they’re saying AJ is a big puncher and so forth and I hope he comes out and comes to fight because if he lets those big punches go I know that will leave him exposed. If Daniel clips him, it will knock him out. I think Daniel is the bigger puncher,” Warren said.

“I genuinely think that Daniel can win this, he’s a young man, he’s fought better opposition in his last three fights than AJ has. And by the way, AJ has looked good in his last few fights but not against as good opposition as what Daniel has been in with.”

Anthony Joshua set to break Tyson Fury record

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