Cristiano Ronaldo hailed an "unparalleled magician" whom he could call "friend" while arch rival Lionel Messi remembered an icon with an "eternal appeal" as the two modern day geniuses joined the world in mourning Diego Maradona's untimely death on Wednesday.
Maradona, 60, considered the greatest footballer of all time alongside Brazil's Pele, died following a cardiac arrest, two weeks after undergoing a surgery to remove a blood clot in his brain.
"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 leaves too soon, but leaves a legacy without limits and a void that will never be filled," the Portugal and Juventus superstar wrote in his twitter handle.
"Rest in peace, ace. You will never be forgotten.Folded hands," Ronaldo added.
Maradona died two weeks after he was released from a Buenos Aires hospital following brain surgery.
Messi, who played under Maradona managership in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, termed his illustrious predecessor's death as "sad for the beautiful game."
"A very sad day for all Argentines and football. leaves us but he he doesn't leave, because Diego is eternal," Messi wrote in an Instagram post.
"I take the cute moments lived with him and wanted to take an opportunity to send condolences to all his family and and friends. RIP."