The sports world lost a giant on Wednesday morning, as soccer legend Diego Maradona passed away at age 60.
An icon to many, tributes came pouring in, including from a number of Whitecaps FC players and figures, who shared their memories of the legendary 1986 FIFA World Cup winner.
Bob Lenarduzzi, whose playing years overlapped with Maradona's, recalled hearing stories from his brother Dan of a young Argentine tearing it up in youth international competitions.
"Dan was at the same tournament with him at the 1979 U-20 World Cup and I remember picking up my younger brother at the airport after coming back from Japan. He said the guy was unbelievable, and it turned out to be Maradona's coming-out party," said Lenarduzzi. "Argentina won the U-20 World Cup that year. Then in 1986, we went to the World Cup with Canada, and Argentina won that tournament."
"He was an anomaly. You can't help but bring up the 'Hand of God', but what he had was God-given. You can't pick up those abilities just by practice," marvelled Lenarduzzi.
Lucas Cavallini shared a picture of himself as a toddler with the soccer megastar. As a child, the 'Caps striker played with Maradona's nephew in Ontario, where Diego's brother Lalo played for a number of years in the mid-90's.
"He's the reason why I loved soccer from the beginning. The greatest of all time," said Cavallini.
'Caps centre back Erik Godoy passed along a message as well.
"In Argentina, we love him. He is the ultimate idol," said Godoy, who hails from Buenos Aires. "He made us world champion and he always represents us. D10S."
Club co-owner Steve Nash took to Twitter to pay his respects as well, posting a picture in front of a mural of the soccer icon.
Rest In Peace, Diegito. Muchas gracias por todos los regalos. 💔 pic.twitter.com/7pjJBm7eIE— Steve Nash (@SteveNash) November 25, 2020
Last week, former 'Caps midfielder Mauro Rosales shared a picture with Maradona, thanking his fellow native countryman for the inspiration he provided.
Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber posted a message on Twitter as the league mourn the loss of the global superstar.
Tune in to TSN Radio 1040 at 3:30 p.m. PT on Wednesday as Carl Valentine joins Sekeres & Price to talk about Maradona's impact to the football world.