Lionel Messi has paid tribute to his compatriot Diego Maradona after the legend’s death.
Maradona passed away on Wednesday aged 60 after suffering a heart attack at his Buenos Aires home.
Argentina have declared three days of national mourning, with the country’s president Alberto Fernandez announcing: “You took us to the top of the world. You made us immensely happy. You were the greatest of them all.
“Thank you for having existed, Diego. We’re going to miss you all our lives.”
Messi was dubbed ‘the new Maradona’ after bursting onto the scene with Barcelona and Argentina in 2004.
In the eyes of some football fans, Messi did the unthinkable and went on to surpass Maradona’s extraordinary achievements.
However, many still believe that Maradona is the greatest footballer of all time, above Messi, Pele and all the other legends of the game.
“A very sad day for all Argentines and for football,” the six-time Ballon d’Or winner wrote. “He leaves us but does not leave, because Diego is eternal.
“I keep all the beautiful moments lived with him and I send my condolences to all his family and friends. RIP.”
Messi worked under Maradona between 2008-2010 when the latter took charge of Argentina’s national team.
They were unable to win the World Cup together at the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa.
Argentina finished top of their group and recorded a 3-1 win over Mexico in the Round of 16 but crashed out of the tournament at the quarter-final stage, losing 4-0 to Germany in Cape Town.
Following Maradona’s death, the debate over whether Messi or Maradona is the greatest Argentine footballer in history will continue to rumble on.
But there’s absolutely no doubt that the pair are two of the finest footballers ever to play the game.