Khabib Nurmagomedov pays moving tribute to footballing legend Diego Maradona

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UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has taken to Instagram to pay tribute to the late Diego Maradona. 

Maradona, who won the World Cup in 1986 with Argentina, passed away on Wednesday from a heart attack in his native country. 

There has been a swathe of posts from sporting elites across the globe, including fellow retired fighter Mike Tyson, after one of football's most iconic talents had died. 

And one such post came from Nurmagomedov, who posted a black and white photo of Maradona holding the Jules Rimet trophy and posted a simple caption beneath. 

"One of the greatest athletes of all time.

"Because of Maradona millions of people love football" 

One champion recognises the greatness of another.

The undefeated Khabib's now-iconic status in UFC history will resonate with sporting fans globally. 

Both athletes have never been far from the headlines, often adding a questionable element of flair and colour to the dramatics of their sports. Just as every football fan remembers the Hand of God, each UFC follower will remember the intensities of The Eagle's rivalry with Conor McGregor.

However, both have a claim to being the greatest in their sport; Khabib boasts an incredible 29-0 record, the best of any fighter, and Maradona had truly legendary moments such as his tremendous solo goal against England in 1986.

Alongside his international acumen, the diminutive Argentine had memorable spells at Argentinos Juniors, Barcelona and Boca Juniors. 

However, his club career is best known for his time at Napoli, during which the club won their only Serie A titles to date; in 1986-87 and 1989-90. The club has begun discussing plans to rename the stadium in his honour. 

Fans of Gli Azzurri have been paying tribute outside of their stadium to the player, who is revered in the city for his influence both in and out of the sport. 

“Maradona wasn’t just a player. He represented the spirit of Napoli for years,” said former Napoli president Corrado Ferlaino, who owned the club when Maradona played there.

In Argentina, three days of mourning will be observed for El Pibe de Oro, whose coffin now rests in the presidential palace in Buenos Aires for a period of lying in state, where it will be until Saturday.

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