DIEGO MARADONA spelled out while he was still alive the message he wanted engraved on his tombstone.
The late football legend made the astonishing admission in a TV interview 15 years ago in which he quizzed himself.
Tributes have flooded in for the late, great Diego Maradona[/caption]
The Argentine icon, being interviewed for the show he presented at the time called La Noche del 10, said that ‘getting old with his grandchildren would mean a peaceful death’ for him.
Asked by interviewer Diego Maradona what he would say in the cemetery to the soccer legend, the interviewee said: “Thanks for having played football because it’s the sport that gave me most happiness and freedom and it’s like having touched the sky with my hand.
“Thanks to the ball.
“Yes, I would put that on the tombstone, ‘Thanks to the ball’.”
His wake will take place at the Argentinian equivalent of the White House.
It had been rumoured the Casa Rosada, the seat of the country’s national government which houses the president’s office and translates as the Pink House, would be used.
And the news was confirmed this evening, with president Alberto Fernandez having already announced three days of national mourning.
Maradona died of a heart attack aged 60 at his home in Buenos Aires earlier today.
Maradona’s legendary career will never be forgotten[/caption]
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And fellow football legend Pele has led the tributes.
The Brazilian wrote: “Sad news today. I have lost a dear friend, and the world has lost a legend.
“There is much more to say, but for now may God give his family strength.
“One day I hope we will play soccer together in the sky.”
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi also offered tributes on Instagram.
Messi wrote: “A very sad day for all Argentines and football. He leaves us but does not leave, because Diego is eternal.
One of the best ever and an unmatched magician
Cristiano Ronaldo on Diego Maradona
“I take all the moments lived with him and wanted to send condolences to all his family and friends. RIP.”
And Ronaldo posted: “Today I bid farewell to a friend and the world says farewell to an eternal genius.
“One of the best ever and an unmatched magician. Leaves too soon but leaves a boundless legacy and a void that will never be filled. RIP crack. You will never be forgotten.”