Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso has joined those paying tribute to football great, Diego Armando Maradona, saying he will live forever, like all legends.
Napoli, where Maradona won two Serie A titles which have been the only Scudettos won so far by the club has paid huge tribute to the 1986 world cup winner who died at the age of 60 on Wednesday due to cardiac arrest.
As part of the honour, Napoli won Rijeka 2-0 last night in the UEFA Europa League. The club’s fans in their thousand flooded outside San Paolo Stadium that will be renamed after Maradona. They laid flowers and pay their respects.
Speaking after the game, Gattuso, who had dinners with Maradona said he has many wonderful memories with him.
“I have many wonderful memories of Diego, we had dinner together a few times. He died, but will never die because he was an extraordinary person. He made some mistakes in life, but so does everyone.
“Even yesterday driving through the city, you could tell the atmosphere was completely different. Diego came from another planet and he will live forever, like all legends, and I hope he’ll say hello to my sister up there. My only regret is I never got to tackle him on the pitch…”
Napoli wants to win Europa League for Maradona – Gattuso
Now that the Argentine has passed away, Gatusso believes it is befitting to honour him further by winning the Europa League for him.
“This is our work, it is our duty to continue and look forward. We’ll play every three days. We hope to dedicate a trophy to him as soon as possible.
“Diego wasn’t the man who won the Scudetto, he was the best player in the world who wore the Napoli jersey, represented this city and made a whole generation dream when the trophies all went to the northern clubs.
“I don’t know if San Gennaro or Diego Armando Maradona is more important for this city, with all due respect to the Saint.
“It is a remarkable city, it feels like living in Rio de Janeiro or Buenos Aires. There’s the smell of food and the sound of life 24 hours a day, there’s such passion and warmth. I’ve been living in the north for many years, but I remain a Terrone (southerner) inside.”
Having won eight of their last 11 games, Napoli will be hoping to move further ahead and compete for titles. Thursday’s win was a good response to their 3-1 loss against AC Milan on the same ground over the weekend.