NAPOLI paid a touching tribute to Diego Maradona ahead of their Europa League clash with Rijeka on Thursday.
Napoli paid tribute to Diego Maradona ahead of their Europa League game with RijekaCredit: Getty Images – Getty
The players all donned Maradona’s iconic No10 shirtCredit: Reuters
Maradona’s image was beamed onto the screen in the San PaoloCredit: AFP
Tributes were paid outside the San Paolo by fans tooCredit: Rex Features
Maradona led Napoli to two Serie A titles and one UEFA Cup during his seven seasons at the club, scoring 115 goals in 259 games.
And the Italians paid a fitting tribute to one of Naples’ best-loved sons, with fans marching through the street with flares.
Before kick-off, star Napoli player Lorenzo Insigne laid flowers outside the San Paolo stadium – which is set to be renamed after Maradona.
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The icon’s picture was beamed onto giant screens inside the arena.
And the Napoli players all wore Maradona’s legendary No10 shirt as they held a minute of silence before kick-off.
Napoli also posted an emotional statement online, saying that the city will love Maradona ‘forever’.
It read: “Diego, Unique and Immense Love. If the world is mourning the greatest player of all time, Naples celebrates a son, a friend, a father and a brother tonight.
“Diego, Unique and Immense Love. The Champion, the Star Player, the Idol, The King, the unrepeatable Genius of the Blue Universe who gave us an Eternal Dream.
“Thank you for the emotions, for the happiness, for the splendour, for your huge heart that will never stop beating.
“You have risen once again from the Earth to enter the Legend.
“You beat death to consign yourself to the Myth. And now, Diego, take us back with you to Heaven.
“This is your city, this is your home, this is your people, this is your people.
“Diego, Unique and Immense Love . Naples will love you forever!”
Maradona won two Serie A titles during his time at NapoliCredit: AFP
The Argentine was loved by all in Naples as he also won a UEFA CupCredit: Reuters
Upon hearing the sad news yesterday, fans poured onto the streets of Naples in tears.
The Italian club now plans to rename its San Paolo stadium after Maradona.
President Aurelio De Laurentiis said: “We can consider the idea of calling our stadium San Paolo-Diego Armando Maradona.”
Naples Mayor Luigi De Magistris added: “We are already putting it together this morning, taking the first steps to dedicate Naples’ stadium to Maradona.
“It’s a process but it will be a quick process, because when there is such a strong desire there’s nothing that will hold us up.
“We’re hoping to make it coincide with the resumption of games with fans.”
Maradona sadly passed away on Wednesday at the age of 60Credit: AP:Associated Press
The City of Naples will never forget the superstar from ArgentinaCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Former Napoli star and Chelsea vice-captain Jorginho added: “Maradona was a hero for all of us who love football.
“What he did on the pitch was unbelievable. It is something that no one can ever forget because he made the history of football.
“I was lucky to meet him once in Naples. I took a picture with him and I will never forget that day. I think those who met him will never forget, who saw what he did on the pitch will never forget.
“Today is a sad day because it is a big loss and I struggle to believe it happened. What he did for Naples, everyone just loves him so much for it, I felt that.
“I need to say thanks for what he did for football. He made us dream. Every kid who watched his skills and what he did on the pitch, every fan, everyone loved and will love him forever for what he did on the pitch.
“I am sad today about what happened, I have and I will always have a big respect for Maradona. Thank you Diego, rest in peace.”
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