The football world is in mourning following the death of Diego Maradona in Argentina yesterday and Robbie Keane was among those to pay tribute here in Ireland.
Rarely has a figure united a sport as much as Diego Maradona, with tributes continuing to pour in from fans as well as some of the biggest names in football. Maradona's influence crossed continents and spanned generations so it's no surprise that he was idolised by a Tallaght kid by the name of Robbie Keane throughout the 80s and 90s.
Ireland's record goalscorer paid his respects to Diego on Instagram yesterday, all too soon after he was wishing him a happy 60th birthday back in October. In that original post, Robbie referenced his son Robert's meeting with the Argentina legend, writing 'Happy 60th birthday @maradona Genius.. Little Keano has met some players over the years but this one was special. Lucky boy.'
Maradona, who was dealing with health issues at the time, replied by saying 'thank you very much my friend and please send my regards to little Robert and your family!!'
There aren't many kids around the world who get personal messages from El Diego. Fast forward to yesterday's tragic news and Robbie posted: 'The best that ever was @maradona This is a very sad day in football we have lost a great. I am so glad that I had the pleasure of meeting Diego and spending some time with him and his partner Rocio he will be sadly missed, he inspired a generation but his memory will live on through his brilliance. The kindness he showed my family and particularly my son Robert will never be forgotten, memories we will treasure.'
He's summed up the feelings of millions there. Diego Maradona is currently lying in repose in Buenos Aires and the tributes are sure to carry on for quite some time. A fitting legacy for a man who brought so much joy to so many.
(header pic: @RobbieKeane on Instagram)