One and a half many years of worldwide soccer, with loads of success, virtually paled compared to the couple of minutes Vijayan obtained to spend with Maradona.
That’s Diego Maradona, that’s his impression, stated the scorer of one of many quickest targets in aggressive soccer.
The previous India captain had the chance to satisfy, play ball and hug one of many world’s best sporting stars throughout a non-public occasion in Kerala a number of years in the past.
“In 2012 in Kannur, I noticed first-hand what soccer meant to Maradona. As a part of festivities, a cake was designed like a floor with a soccer on prime of it. The second Maradona noticed it, he refused to chop it,” Vijayan informed PTI recalling the incident.
Vijayan, one among India’s greats on the planet sport, stated that the incident “informed me” how a lot soccer and the bottom meant to Maradona, who died on Wednesday following a cardiac arrest. He was 60.
“He agreed to chop solely the outer a part of the cake. I can say that enjoying two minutes of soccer with him on the stage stays one among my greatest achievements in life,” he added.
Vijayan additionally felt Maradona’s outspokenness and childlike enthusiasm could have been the explanations behind the various issues he encountered in his blessed but troubled life.
“I at all times felt he had the center of a kid. And his forthright strategy could have created all the issues for him. He was open about issues and stated them as they had been, on the face,” Vijayan stated.
His dying resonated past soccer with sporting icons akin to Mike Tyson and Magic Johnson paying wealthy tributes and recalling their encounters with the soccer wizard.
“He could have died however within the hearts of us footballers, he’ll reside on ceaselessly. To me, Maradona is God, and God would not die,” stated Vijayan.
“Like so many different footballers internationally and India, I too began enjoying soccer after watching him play within the 1986 World Cup and carry the trophy, virtually single-handedly, along with his dazzling sport,” he recalled.
Vijayan agreed with Lineker’s description of Maradona’s romance with soccer — the previous English striker has performed in opposition to the Argentine in his heydays, together with the 1986 World Cup.
“He has such an unbelievable ardour for the sport. I’ve by no means seen anybody have such a wonderful affection with a soccer. Diego is unbelievable,” Lineker stated in a heartfelt tribute, which has gone viral on-line.