Gennaro Gattuso: Diego Maradona will live forever

Napoli beat Croatian Rijeka 2-0 on Thursday in their first game since the death of Diego Maradona, the Italian club's biggest and most popular player.

Napoli’s manager Gennaro Gattuso paid tribute to Diego Armando Maradona after the 2-0 victory over Rijeka. ‘He will live forever, like all legends.’

There was an emotional minute of silence before the start of the Europa League game, but especially the thousands who came out to lay flowers and pay their respects in front of the Stadio San Paolo, which will soon be called Maradona.

“I have many wonderful memories of Diego, we had dinner together a couple of times. He died, but he will never die, because he was an extraordinary person. He made some mistakes in life, but also all of them, ”Gattuso told Sky Sport Italia.

“Even yesterday, driving through the city, you could tell the atmosphere was completely different. Diego came from another planet and will live forever, like all legends, and I hope he greets my sister up there. My only regret is that I was never able to tackle it on the field …

“This is our job, it is our duty to continue and look forward. We will play every three days. We hope to dedicate a trophy to him as soon as possible.

“Diego was not the man who won the Scudetto, he was the best player in the world who wore the Napoli jersey, represented this city and made a whole generation dream when all the trophies went to the northern clubs.

“I don’t know if San Gennaro or Diego Armando Maradona is more important to this city, with all due respect to Santo.

“It is an extraordinary city, it feels like living in Rio de Janeiro or Buenos Aires. There is the smell of food and the sound of life 24 hours a day, there is so much passion and warmth. I’ve been living up north for many years, but I’m still a (southern) Terrone on the inside. “

Matteo Politano opened the scoring, albeit with a decisive detour, before Hirving Lozano secured the 2-0.

“All games are difficult, because even against a local team, it will be difficult if you don’t approach it in the right way.

“This performance was much better than three weeks ago outside Rijeka, but we still made too many mistakes and became stubborn trying to pass the balls. It was certainly an improvement. “

This week there were reports that Gattuso had argued with his players, something the club strongly denied.

“Things were said that were simply not true. I don’t argue with my players, I just told them what I thought. I said we need to see the same spirit whether we are 1-0 up or 1-0 down. You know what I think, I tell them all the time in training.

“We have won eight of our last 11 games, but if people think that we are galactic or like Barcelona, ​​they are very wrong. What I want to see is hunger, the desire to help each other and work together. “

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