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football icon 'We looked around in awe' - Niall Quinn on the night the Ireland team waited to see Diego Maradona

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Diego Maradona holds up the World Cup in 1986 (Carlo Fumagalli/AP)

Diego Maradona holds up the World Cup in 1986 (Carlo Fumagalli/AP)

Diego Maradona holds up the World Cup in 1986 (Carlo Fumagalli/AP)

Former Republic of Ireland striker Niall Quinn paid a moving tribute to the great Diego Maradona by recalling the occasion when the Ireland team waited to see the Argentine in action.

Ireland were training in Seville ahead of a World Cup qualifier in 1992, with Maradona playing out the final days of his career in European football with a stint at Sevilla.

With training finished for Jack Charlton's squad, they got word that Maradona was due to train on his own at the same venue and the decision was made to wait for the great man to show up.

"We were training in Seville and stayed behind training to try and catch a glimpse of him training," Quinn told Virgin Media Sport.

"The Ireland team stayed behind to see Maradona. He came on his own and drove in on a big jeep buggy.

"He got a bag of balls, put about six of them in the top corner. It was a surreal time. We just looked around in awe."

Quinn's adoration for Maradona shone through in his comments, as he suggested he was the best the game has ever seen.

"He got really into people's hearts by the way he played, the way he portrayed himself and the passion that he played the game with," he added.

"The great skill levels of course, he was bringing that to a new level. That mixed in with his passion, grabbing his country by the scruff of the neck to come good in '86.

"The whole Maradona story, we wanted more and more and he gave it. He's etched in my heart firmly."

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