The All Blacks have been praised for their touching tribute to the late Diego Maradona during their haka ahead of their Tri-Nations clash against Los Pumas in Newcastle.
Maradona, regarded as one of the best football players of all-time and considered an icon in his native Argentina, died earlier this week due to a heart attack at the age of 60.
The All Blacks paid tribute to his passing during their traditional pre-match haka, with captain Sam Cane advancing to the halfway line to lay down an All Blacks jersey with ‘Maradona 10’ printed on the back in front of the Argentine team.
Fans were quick to take to Twitter to praise the All Blacks for their acknowledgement of Maradona’s death.
A special gesture from the All Blacks to Argentina before tonight's Haka.
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) November 28, 2020
— Rohanct (@RohanCT) November 28, 2020
— Ant Meals (@antmeals) November 28, 2020
The All Blacks present Argentina with a special signed New Zealand jersey in honour of the football legend.
— Wide World of Sports (@wwos) November 28, 2020
— Sergio Andueza (@AnduezaSergio) November 28, 2020
— Paul Toonen (@paultzelluf) November 28, 2020
— ESPN Scrum (@espnscrum) November 28, 2020
— Enge Gray (@Enge21) November 28, 2020
The death has been hard felt in Argentina, with the nation going into three days of mourning following his passing on Wednesday.
Cane had labelled Maradona as a God-like figure earlier in the week, while Argentina head coach Mario Ledesma called upon his squad to use his passing as extra motivation as Los Pumas aim to secure an unprecedented second straight win over the All Blacks.
“He had an attraction, like the world stopped when he was there,” Ledesma said.
“It was like magic and he was an example of how you should play for this jersey, and to be fair he was passionate about every team. He would go and watch tennis, hockey, rugby, football, everything.
“Whenever there was an Argentinian jersey he was there and he united people in Argentina, and in Argentina sometimes it’s difficult to unite people who think different.”
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