Across the globe, teams paid tribute to Diego Maradona on Saturday with moments of silence before European soccer games and a touching gesture from New Zealand’s rugby team.
The death of the Argentine great was still being felt three days after he had a heart attack at the age of 60 outside Buenos Aires, where he had been recovering from a brain operation.
Manchester City and Burnley players and coaches stood and applauded as a video showed Maradona’s famous solo run and goal for Argentina against England in the quarter-finals of the 1986 World Cup.
“This week, we lost a true footballing great. Diego Maradona was everything football should be: expressive, exciting, attacking and free,” City manager Pep Guardiola said in the team’s matchday program.
City and Burnley players warmed up to the song “Live is Life” by Austrian band Opus. That’s the tune Maradona warmed up to before one of Napoli’s UEFA Cup matches in 1989. The players went through their usual routine as the Etihad Stadium loudspeakers played the song.
Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti struggled to hold his emotions together. He made the sign of the cross and kissed his finger after a tribute before their match against Leeds. Ancelotti played for AC Milan against Maradona during their time in Serie A and later went on to manage Napoli.
Maradona led Napoli to their only two Serie A titles in 1987 and 1990 and is considered an icon in the southern Italian city.
All Serie A players were taking the field wearing a black armband, and a minute’s silence was being observed before each kick-off, with players lined up around the centre circle.
At the 10th minute of each Italian match, an image of Maradona was being projected, in honour of his jersey number.
Across the Bundesliga, teams stood for a moment’s silence and images of Maradona were shown on stadium screens, including one of the Argentine raising the World Cup trophy in 1986, when they beat West Germany in the final.
The tributes weren’t limited to soccer.
Before their rugby Tri Nations test against Argentina, New Zealand captain Sam Cane presented an All Blacks jersey with Maradona’s name and number 10.
As the All Blacks lined up to perform the haka, Cane stepped out, walked toward midfield and laid down the jersey as the Argentina players stood arm-in-arm and watched.
“It was a gesture, a token, of paying our respects to an Argentine legend, a world legend in his field as well,” Cane said after the match, which New Zealand won 38-0.
Several Argentine players nodded in acknowledgement of the gesture.
“I’m really thankful for that,” Pumas flanker Pablo Matera said.
“Diego Maradona was obviously huge for Argentina, so I’m really thankful for that gesture from the All Blacks.”