The entire footballing world stands still. Some of Germany’s most famous footballing personalities process their shock and deep mourning for the loss of the country’s greatest rival; and possibly greatest world footballer of all time.
It remains early hours, with better eulogies yet to come. The German internationals who had the privilege of playing against the great Diego Armando Maradona begin to pay their respects.
As the evening wore, all the living German footballing legends contributed homages to a footballer without equal.
Lothar Matthäus. Photo: Steffen Prößdorf, CC BY-SA 4.0
1986 belonged to the Albiceleste. In 1990, it was the turn of the newly re-unified Bundesrepublik. The epic Germany vs. Argentina World Cup battles would never have been possible without the late great Diego Armando Maradona.
The rivalry has continued well into the new century. It remains a sporting duel based on the deepest of mutual respect.
The tributes began to trickle in on Wednesday evening after a legend sorrowfully departed this earthly vale far before his time.
Rudi Völler (1986 and 1990 World Cup finalist)
“A wonderful player. His early death is a bitter blow for all of football.”
Bodo Illgner (1990 World Cup finalist)
“For the footballing world, his death is a huge loss. We will miss him. The discussions of who is better, Messi or Maradona, will continue for decades to come without anyone being able to definitively settle the issue.”
Toni Schumacher (1986 World Cup finalist)
“Diego was a genius on the football pitch; a true magician. No one could best him on the grand stage in my time. I mourn together with Argentina and the rest of the football world for the hand off God.”
Klaus Augenthaler (1986 and 1990 World Cup finalist)
“When I’m asked who the best footballer I ever played against was, there is only one answer: Diego Maradona! Diego embodied everything that makes a great footballer. He was so often targeted with hard fouls, but he always shook it off and kept playing.”
Guido Buchwald (1990 World Cup finalist)
“I am truly shocked. Diego Maradona left us far too early at the age of 60; the man whom the world witnessed play commanded so much respect and brought so much joy.”
“Maradona juggled the ball with all parts of his body–like a circus artist. It was a terrific show. If the Gods wish to argue who the greatest footballer of all time was, Maradona was a genius; a peerless footballer. He was already mythic during his playing days. The grief shall be immeasurable. The footballing heavens weep for Diego Maradona.”
“I played against him twice. He was the best footballer I’ve ever seen. A genius with incredible ideas. I’m very sad about his death. The good Lord definitely took him far too soon.”
“The entire footballing world bows before one of the greatest geniuses our sport has ever produced. Few had skills like Maradona. It is cruel that he left us so young.”
Lothar Matthäus (1986 and 1990 World Cup finalist)
“My friend. RIP.”