WATCH | All Blacks pay tribute to Maradona ahead of Pumas game

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
All Blacks captain Sam Cane
All Blacks captain Sam Cane

New Zealand captain Sam Cane laid an All Blacks No 10 jersey emblazoned with Diego Maradona's name in the centre circle ahead of their match against Argentina in memory of the football legend on Saturday.

LIVE | Argentina v All Blacks

The 1986 World Cup winner, a rugby fan, died in his sleep on Wednesday aged just 60, plunging his South American homeland and football globally into mourning.

Both teams gathered in the middle at McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle, north of Sydney, ahead of their Tri Nations clash for the tribute.

It saw Cane symbolically place the shirt on the ground as a mark of respect ahead of their traditional haka.

There were suggestions that the 10 shirt of the Pumas' Nicolas Sanchez could be retired for the game in honour of Maradona, who wore that number when playing for Argentina.

But he donned it as normal.

"I think he's a legend for everybody, but in Argentina he was almost a god," Pumas coach Mario Ledesma, who played 84 times for his country, said shortly before kick-off.

"He had the capacity of getting everybody together so we will miss him."

Maradona was a huge fan of any Argentine sporting team, and Ledesma met him several times.

"He came to many games, and he came once to our changing room after a game against the All Blacks in La Plata; we'd lost on the last ball," he said on Thursday.

"I crossed paths a couple of times, but not many. He had an attraction, the world stopped when he was there.

"He would watch tennis, hockey, rugby, football, whenever there was an Argentina jersey he was there and he was an example of how to represent that jersey."

Maradona was laid to rest on the outskirts of Buenos Aires after a ceremony attended by family and close friends, following a chaotic public wake.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
loading... Live
Lions 0
Dolphins 341/9
loading... Live
Titans 263/10
Knights 23/0
loading... Live
Cape Cobras 146/3
Warriors 0
Voting Booth
What is your favourite sport to watch on TV?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
41% - 12487 votes
12% - 3727 votes
19% - 5667 votes
3% - 789 votes
1% - 302 votes
2% - 711 votes
5% - 1552 votes
8% - 2547 votes
3% - 1058 votes
Water sports
1% - 276 votes
American sports
1% - 390 votes
3% - 1017 votes