Zlatan Ibrahimovic pays tribute to Diego Maradona following his death, insisting he must be judged for what he did as a player: ‘What he did outside is his problem and not ours’
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic paid a touching tribute to Diego Maradona after his death
- Maradona passed away at his Buenos Aires home aged 60 after a heart attack
- The legend’s struggles with his personal demons have been well-documented
- Ibrahimovic lauded Maradona and says his on-field heroics are all that matters
Maradona died aged 60 at his Buenos Aires home on Wednesday, having suffered a heart attack. The all-time great, widely regarded as the finest footballer in history, had undergone brain surgery on a blood clot earlier this month.
His tragic passing was greeted with an outpouring of emotion, and touching tributes, from around the world – and Ibrahimovic believes Maradona’s heroics during his esteemed career are all that truly matters.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has insisted Diego Maradona should only be judged for his time on the field
AC Milan striker Ibrahimovic joined the outpouring of tributes after Maradona’s death aged 60
He told Sky Sports: ‘I’m so sorry, because for me Maradona is more than football. It has become a religion for many and I was lucky enough to know him and talk to him.
‘He is a symbol of what he has done on the pitch. I always judge him for what he did on the pitch, what he did outside, in my opinion, is his problem and not ours.
‘We must remember him for what he did as a footballer and in my opinion, he will be remembered forever. When you see number 10 who do you think about? Maradona.
‘It is a symbol, even today there are those who choose that number for him.’
Maradona is widely regarded as the finest footballer in history for his heroics across his career
But the Argentina great was also plagued by well-documented off-field demons for decades
Maradona memorably led Argentina to World Cup glory in 1986, and knocked England out in the quarter-final with a double that will forever be etched in history.
He struck first with the infamous ‘Hand of God’ and dazzled with a second, which was later voted ‘Goal of the Century’.
The football legend was rightly lauded for his breathtaking ability, but had also been plagued by personal demons. His struggles with alcohol and drug abuse have since been well documented.
AC Milan striker Ibrahimovic believes, however, that Maradona’s unbridled passion helped enshrine him as one of the sport’s best ever players.
Ibrahmovic also believes Maradona’s unbridled passion helped make him the best ever player
‘As a person, he did everything with his heart, there were no other motives or thoughts,’ he added.
‘I don’t know if that’s the right thing, but that’s why the whole world loved him.
‘He was always himself. In today’s football, everyone tries to be perfect, but to grow and learn you have to make mistakes.
‘Maradona always did everything with his heart and will always remain number one.’