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‘Thank you, Leo’: Messi honors Maradona by unveiling top of club they shared after scoring Barcelona goal worthy of Argentina icon

‘Thank you, Leo’: Messi honors Maradona by unveiling top of club they shared after scoring Barcelona goal worthy of Argentina icon
Lionel Messi paid a fitting, emotional tribute to Diego Maradona four days after the legendary striker's death, scoring a sublime goal for Barcelona before peeling off his top to reveal the shirt of another club both stars loved.

In their first match since their former striker died on Wednesday, Barcelona made a welcome return to winning ways by beat Osasuna 4-0 at the Camp Nou, where Maradona won three trophies between 1982 and 1984.

Their fourth victory of an unconvincing opening to the season was capped by a wonderful goal by Messi 17 minutes from time, rampaging beyond several opposition players before blasting an unstoppable finish into the far corner of the net from just outside the penalty area.

After being congratulated by his teammates, Messi removed his Barca shirt to reveal the colors of Newell's Old Boys, the Argentinean club where he was a youth player before moving to Catalonia.

Maradona made five appearances for the Rosario-based side towards the end of his career, shortly before Messi began learning his mesmerizing craft there in 1994.

Messi looked up, blew a kiss to the skies and took a moment to reflect after unveiling the red and black shirt with the formidable strikers' shared number, ten, on the back.

As one half of the duo widely considered to be Argentina's greatest ever players, Messi is often compared with the man who managed him as their nation reached the World Cup quarter-finals in 2010.

The 33-year-old has not yet managed to match Maradona's achievement of winning the World Cup, but has had a longer careeer at the top of the game than the player he considers in holy terms.

"He leaves us but does not leave, because Diego is eternal," Messi told his vast Instagram following after learning of Maradona's passing from heart failure, having previously described his words as "sacred".

"I keep all of the beautiful moments I lived with him."

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