The world of football is in mourning after the death of Argentina icon Diego Maradona at the age of 60 from a heart attack.
The European football community will awake on Thursday to find an array of glorious tributes to Maradona, who played in both Spain and Italy with Barcelona and Napoli respectively, splashed across the front and back pages of the continent’s newspapers.
But it is arguably France’s L’Equipe that has the most powerful front page on Thursday – a picture of Maradona stood proudly in an Argentina shirt with the headline: ‘God is dead’.
Maradona’s touch, speed and poise was a fabulous combination on the pitch and propelled him from the slums of Buenos Aires to timeless stardom through the world of football.
The unplayable level that he reached as he spearheaded Argentina’s surge to 1986 World Cup glory in Mexico is most prominently remembered.
The Italian papers, in the country where he also thrived with Napoli, mainly lead with pictures of him in the blue and white of his country.
La Gazzetta dello Sport, with a picture of Maradona kissing the iconic World Cup trophy in 86, say: ‘I saw Maradona’.
Tuttosport have the picture of him being carried on the shoulders of his team-mates in the immediate aftermath of his World Cup triumph at the Aztec stadium, with the headline: ‘AD10S’, referencing the No 10 shirt that became synonymous with his career.
Corrierre dello Sport have a picture of Maradona in his Napoli days under the headline ‘Diego Lives’.
In Spain, the tributes to Argentina are just as gracious. Marca runs a powerful quote of Maradona reflecting on his life on its front page, which says: ‘If I die I want to be born again and I want to be a footballer.
And I want to be Diego Armando Maradona again. I am a player who has brought joy to the people and that is enough for me.’
Mundo Deportivo – the Barcelona based publication – also run with an ‘AD10S’ style headline and say all of sport, not just football, is mourning his death.
AS’s front page read ‘D10S Ha Muerto’ with a picture of Maradona wearing an Argentina shirt while stood in front of the sun.
Sport use the same picture as Tuttosport in Italy but with the headline: ‘God is already in heaven.’