Gut-wrenching day of Diego Maradona’s death left Argentina icon ‘wanting to cry’

Former star Hernan Crespo has opened up about the harrowing day on which Diego Maradona passed away.

Maradona, considered one of the best to ever play the game, died at just 60 years old in 2020. His body was buried in a private funeral – with thousands gathered on the streets of Buenos Aires to mourn the Argentine great.

And Serie A and fellow Argentine legend Crespo has detailed the ordeal of hearing about the death of his friend, who ‘was there with him from the beginning’.

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Crespo, speaking exclusively to Ladbrokes at the launch of their World Cup Free-To-Play Halftime Quiz, said: “Diego's death was news I never, ever wanted to hear. I was managing Defensa y Justicia on that day, and all I wanted to do was cry.

“At the end of my career, I met with and shared a lot of time with him at all those 'legend' events. He's been with me from the very beginning. For me, as a player and a coach, the most important thing I want to see is passion, and that's because of Diego and the example he set.”

Crespo also touched on what happened on the day that he heard the news – saying he struggled to compose himself and carry out his duties as a coach.

He said: “It was really hard for me on the day I found out he'd passed away. I was a coach at Defensa y Justicia and we were playing a semi-final in the South American equivalent of the Europa League. We were preparing for that game when I received the news I never, ever wanted to hear.

"It really was so hard to go in front of my players that day. And then in the press conferences before and after the game, it was so difficult for me to answer questions without crying.

“It was very hard for everybody in Argentina, because we all had so many great memories of him. He had support from everyone, all of the time. Even in the bad moments. He was there for everybody, too. He knew everything about everybody.”

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