The death of Diego Maradona last week left the football world in mourning. Tributes poured in from all quarters for the legend who often left the world in awe with his magical skills on the field and a charming personality.
The charisma even touched Neymar, when he was a junior footballer. The Brazilian recalled a touching gesture from the Argentine great after he scored twice against Manchester United in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Watch the full video of Neymar’s Maradona tribute below:
“I had just a few contacts with Maradona, but I’ll never forget the one when I was 12 or 13 years old,” Neymar told Eleven Sports.
“I was just starting at Santos and I went to watch a show match between Brazil and Argentina - a game between former players.
“As the Brazilian team’s bus were already full, I couldn’t go with them, so they put me onto Argentina’s bus. There were two guys highlighted in there, because they were sitting in the first seats: they were [Alejandro] Mancuso and Maradona.
“So they put me alongside them and treated me very well. So well that, when we arrived in the stadium, they took me to Argentina’s locker room and onto the field.
“I even have a photo with Maradona, from when I was a little. He called me over to take that picture. I’ll never forget his gesture.
“On the pitch, he was an icon for everybody, sure. For me as well, but I’ve always respected him as an athlete and as a footballer. I will never forget that.”