The most significant tribute to an athlete in any field is usually the ones he receives from his peers.
Diego Maradona, the Argentine football icon, was an artist with the football at his feet and it showed even during a warm-up routine. As England legend Gary Lineker said in his tribute that has gone viral a day after Maradona’s death, here was a guy who could inspire awe from his fellow footballers not just during a match, even during a warm-up routine.
Very few visuals sums up Maradona’s genius better than this famous pre-match warm-up routine of his when he played for Napoli, ahead of Uefa Cup semifinal second leg against Bayern Munich in 1989.
Writing for ESPN, sports journalist Gab Marcotti said about this iconic footage: “It was a viral video before there were viral videos (...) It’s probably the most-watched bit of organic on-pitch football footage that doesn’t include a second of game action. It’s both of its time and ahead of its time.”
Here’s Gary Lineker’s tribute to Diego Maradona, where he talks about a similar incident: