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Gary Lineker's Touching Warm-Up Tribute To Diego Maradona Proves Just How Good He Really Was

Gary Lineker's Touching Warm-Up Tribute To Diego Maradona Proves Just How Good He Really Was

He is, without doubt, one of the greatest to ever play the game.

And to some, he's arguably the greatest.

But Diego Maradona leaves more behind than just dazzling skills, incredible solo goals, World Cup triumphs and even a cheeky "Hand Of God".

What he leaves behind is a legacy shared by everyone.

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But while it's easy for most of us to simply YouTube the best moments throughout his career, perhaps the most valuable memories come from those who were fortunate enough to see the football icon in the flesh.

Gary Lineker being one of them.

Diego Maradona. Credit: PA
Diego Maradona. Credit: PA

The former Three Lions striker turned TV host came up against Maradona on a number of occasions - both domestically and on the international stage.

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But during an exhibition match, the two actually ended up on the same team for the Rest of The World - ironically playing against England.

The two sides pose ahead of the Football League Centenary Match at Wembley Stadium. Maradona is pictured in the bottom row towards the right. Credit: PA
The two sides pose ahead of the Football League Centenary Match at Wembley Stadium. Maradona is pictured in the bottom row towards the right. Credit: PA

And as the two sides warmed up on the hallowed turf of Wembley Stadium, one moment in particular stood out for Lineker.

"He did something that was incredible," Lineker said during BT Sport's coverage of the Champions League.

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"It was one of the most unbelievable things I've ever seen on a football pitch. It might not sound that amazing to you at home but I think you (panellists Rio Ferdinand, Michael Owen and Peter Crouch) will appreciate it.

"He juggled the ball all the way out to the centre circle and then he went bang (pretends to kick football in the air) and he whacked it as high as he could and he waited. It eventually came down and he want bang and did the same thing again. He did this about 13 times and the most he ever moved was three paces.

"All of us were sitting there thinking 'that's impossible'.

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"I've never seen anyone have such beautiful affection with a football."

Linker was the top scorer at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.

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Gary Lineker Shares Heartfelt Story Of Playing Alongside Diego Maradona
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Gary Lineker Shares Heartfelt Story Of Playing Alongside Diego Maradona

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And while his six goals and appearance in the quarter-finals was impressive, it's probably safe to say that he was single-handedly outshone by one of the best performances ever seen at a FIFA World Cup.

Maradona dragged Argentina, kicking and screaming, to World Cup glory in the sweltering Mexican heat.

But it was his quarter-final performance against England that will undoubtedly be remembered most.

The "Hand Of God" aside, the little number 10 wearing the dark blue away shirt of Argentina scored arguably the greatest ever World Cup goal of all-time.

"It's the closest moment in my life where I've ever felt like I ought to applaud someone else scoring a goal," Lineker said.

Topics: Death, Gary Lineker, Maradona, Football, passing away, Diego Maradona, Australia, Tribute, Skills

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Max Sherry

Max Sherry is a journalist for SPORTbible Australia. After migrating Down Under from London as a teenager, he instantly fell in love with Aussie sport and its culture. From NRL to AFL, cricket to rugby — you name it, Max watches it (with a beer in hand, of course). During his time at Fox Sports, he worked in the football department covering the Premier League, A-League, Socceroos and Matildas. Born a stone's throw away from West Ham's training ground, Max is obviously a die-hard Liverpool fan.