Former Argentina manager Sabella dies aged 66

Former Argentina player and manager Alejandro Sabella has died at the age of 66, the Argentinian Football Association (AFA) has announced.

The ex-midfielder played eight times for his country and later led Argentina to the 2014 World Cup final, when they were beaten in extra-time by Germany in Brazil.

The news comes less than a fortnight after the death of Sabella’s former international team-mate Diego Maradona.

The AFA tweeted: “The @afa, through its President Claudio Tapia, deeply regrets the death of Alejandro Sabella, former coach of @Argentina, and send your warmest hug to family and loved ones.”

Sabella started his career in his homeland at River Plate before heading to England in 1978, playing for Sheffield United and Leeds during a three-year spell.

He then returned to Argentina with Estudiantes, with whom he won South America’s Copa Libertadores title, and took charge of the national team from 2011-2014.

The Blades tweeted: “Sheffield United are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former player, Alejandro Sabella. Rest in Peace, Alex.”

Leeds tweeted: “The thoughts of everyone at #LUFC are with the friends and family of former midfielder Alejandro Sabella, who has sadly passed away. RIP Alex.”

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Napoli stadium renamed after Maradona

Napoli have officially renamed their San Paolo home stadium in memory of Diego Maradona after the club legend died aged 60.

Maradona, regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time, forged a strong bond with the Italian club and its supporters during his seven-year spell between 1984 and 1991.

The forward, who led Argentina to World Cup glory in 1986, joined Napoli from Barcelona and won their only two Serie A titles – in 1987 and 1990 – along with the Coppa Italia and UEFA Cup.

The Naples city council confirmed on Friday – nine days on from Maradona’s death – that the stadium has been renamed in his honour as the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium.

“SSC Napoli is delighted about today’s decision by the Naples City Council to rename the Stadio San Paolo in memory of Diego Armando Maradona,” the club said in a statement released on Friday evening.

Naples city mayor Luigi De Magistris and Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis had confirmed last week that the San Paolo would be renamed, but were originally unsure whether the initial name would need to be kept as part of the title, which it ultimately was not.

“I’ve been in talks with local authorities for the past 17 years, I have always asked to buy the stadium and rename it ‘Diego Armando Maradona’,” De Laurentiis told Sky in Italy. “If then, for tradition, we will need to call it both ‘San Paolo’ and ‘Maradona’ so be it.

“It won’t change much, but it’s only right that Maradona has this recognition. Even if we were to build a whole new stadium, I would name it like that.”

San Paolo
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Fans gathered outside the stadium in the southern Italian city following Maradona’s death

“I believe it is right to name the San Paolo after you, so we can keep you with us as a witness of the excellent path this team has taken,” De Laurentiis reiterated in an emotional letter addressed to the late club icon.

“Your years here remain indelible in the memories of the people of Naples – symbolic of a coveted redemption and yearned-for resurrection.”

Football world pays tribute to Maradona

Diego Maradona and Pele are the selection of many people as the two greatest footballers of all time
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Maradona and Pele are the selection of many people as the two greatest footballers of all time

Pele paid tribute to his fellow all-time great Maradona, saying: “One day, I hope we can play football together in the sky”.

Argentina’s all-time top goalscorer Lionel Messi wrote on Instagram: “A very sad day for all Argentines and football. He leaves us but does not leave, because Diego is eternal. I take all the good moments lived with him and send condolences to all his family and friends. RIP.”

Cristiano Ronaldo tweeted in Portuguese alongside a picture of him and Maradona: “Today I say goodbye to a friend and the world says goodbye to an eternal genius.”








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First fans gather at the Casa Rosada to pay their respects to Diego Maradona, who lays there.

Gary Lineker, who was in the England side beaten by Maradona’s Argentina in the 1986 World Cup quarter-final, led the tributes on Twitter, writing: “By some distance the best player of my generation and arguably the greatest of all time.

“After a blessed but troubled life, hopefully he’ll finally find some comfort in the hands of God. #RipDiego.”

Manchester United and England forward Marcus Rashford also posted a message on Twitter, while Jamie Carragher wrote: “I’ll never forget watching Diego Maradona as an 8 yr old at the World Cup in Mexico. Never seen anything like it on that stage since. Sad news.”

“One of the best ever. An unparalleled magician. 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.”

Maradona’s time at Napoli remembered

Diego Maradona at Napoli [Credit: Alfredo Capozzi]
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Maradona at Napoli [Credit: Alfredo Capozzi]

Diego Maradona’s time at Napoli is the stuff of legend but Asif Kapadia’s documentary got to the heart of the tale.

Read Adam Bate’s story of Maradona’s adventure at Napoli

Diego Maradona: In pictures

From his days at Boca Juniors, to Napoli and various World Cups, relive some amazing imagery from a quite extraordinary career.

Diego Maradona: The iconic images

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Alex Sandro: ‘Milan are doing well, but we’re Juve’

Juventus left-back Alex Sandro said Milan ‘are doing well’ but stressed the Old Lady have ‘always been strong’ and aim to finish first again.

The Bianconeri are fourth in Serie A after 10 games, six points behind League leaders Milan, but the Brazilian said Andrea Pirlo’s men aim to ‘win every game until the end’ and finish above their rivals for the 10th consecutive time.

“Milan are doing well, but we are Juve,” Alex Sandro told Sky Sport Italia. “We have always been strong and at the end of the season we want to be first.

“If we win every game from here until the end, we will win the Scudetto.”

Milan and Juventus are the only two unbeaten teams in Serie A 2020-21 so far and the Bianconeri continue with an away trip to Genoa on Sunday. The Rossoneri host Prama the same day.

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Juventus: Morata ban reduced to one match

The FIGC has reduced Juventus forward Alvaro Morata’s ban to one match, meaning he will be available against Genoa on Sunday.

The Bianconeri striker was shown a red card at the end of the match against Benevento and suspended for two-games by the Disciplinary Commission.

Juventus’ appeal against the two-match ban has led to a reduction to one game and the Spanish forward can play against Genoa on Sunday.

A statement reveals the FIGC ‘partially accepts and, by effect, reduces the penalty of disqualification to 1 (one) effective day of competition, with a fine of €8,000’.

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