“Maradona, Muhammad Ali, Ayrton Senna, they left their mark on the world.”
Ronnie O’Sullivan has paid a wonderful tribute to Diego Maradona. The football genius passed away on Wednesday aged 60. Maradona suffered cardiac arrest in his native Argentina, a few weeks after undergoing brain surgery.
Tributes have been flooding in for the World Cup-winning captain, who was the best player of his generation and considered by many to be the greatest footballer of all time.
O’Sullivan, the six-time world snooker champion, has paid a touching tribute to the former Napoli forward.
O’Sullivan’s tribute to Maradona.
“He’s iconic,” O’Sullivan told Eurosport.
“Maradona, Muhammad Ali, Ayrton Senna, they left their mark on the world. They had the world in their hands.
“He was incredible. I have always said I would prefer a short and exciting life rather than a long and beige life. Maradona definitely had an exciting life.
“There are probably 200 billion people that have come and gone in this world and there are 10 people in the sporting world that have surpassed what we thought was humanly possible and Maradona was one of them.
“It wasn’t just the way he played, it was the passion and emotion, you just couldn’t help but get sucked into the energy he brought onto the football field, let alone the skill and the mesmeric way he did it.”
In Maradona’s native Argentina, three days of mourning have been declared. His coffin was placed at the presidential palace in Buenos Aires for a period of lying in state.
Argentine football supporters were grief-stricken when news of Maradona’s passing was announced.
O’Sullivan made the comments following his victory over Leo Fernandez in the UK Championship.
The world champion beat the Limerick-native 6-0 and said afterwards that he felt sorry for his opponent.