Pele's emotional tribute to Maradona: 'One day, I hope we can play ball together in the sky'

Diego Maradona PeleGetty/Goal composite

Brazil legend Pele has paid tribute to his "great friend" Diego Maradona after it was confirmed the Argentine icon had passed away.

The death of the former Napoli, Barcelona and Boca Juniors hero was confirmed on Wednesday following the news he had suffered a heart attack.

Pele and Maradona are hailed as two of the most talented stars to ever play the game and debate has long raged on regarding which was better.

And 80-year-old Pele says the world has lost an iconic figure in Maradona and says they will one day play football together in another realm. 

Pele wrote on Twitter: "What sad news. I lost a great friend and the world lost a legend. There is still much to be said, but for now, may God give strength to family members. One day, I hope we can play ball together in the sky."

Pele was not the only big name in Brazil to comment on the legendary figure's death.

Brazil's former president Lula was also among those to express his grief as he posted on Instagram a picture of the two together. Maradona was a big admirer of the Workers' Party's former leader.

He wrote in the caption: "Diego Armando Maradona was a football giant, for Argentina and for the whole world, a talent and a unique personality. His genius and passion on the field, his intensity in life and his commitment to Latin American sovereignty marked our time.

"On the field, Maradona was one of the biggest opponents, perhaps the biggest, that the Brazilian team has faced. Outside of sports rivalry, he was a great friend of Brazil, and I can only thank him for all his solidarity with popular causes and with the Brazilian people. Maradona will never be forgotten.⁣"

While Pele and Maradona continue to be hailed as true football geniuses, their places at the top of the world game have been taken by Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo and Argentina maestro Lionel Messi.

The former echoed Pele's sentiments when he tweeted his own tribute to Maradona, insisting the world will never forget him.

"Today I say goodbye to a friend and the world says goodbye to an eternal genius. One of the best ever. An unparalleled magician," he wrote.

"He leaves too soon, but leaves a legacy without limits and a void that will never be filled. Rest in peace, ace. You will never be forgotten."

France striker and World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe also gave thanks to Maradona for everything he has done in the sport.  

"RIP Legend. You will stay in the history of football forever. Thanks you for all the pleasure you gave to the whole world," he said on Twitter.