Roy Keane recalls moment he ‘fell in love’ with football after watching Diego Maradona
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Roy Keane recalls moment he ‘fell in love’ with football after watching Diego Maradona

ROY KEANE paid a touching tribute to “absolute genius” Diego Maradona and recalled the moment he briefly saw the World Cup winner in action.

The Argentinian tragically passed away this week aged 60 after falling ill.

Speaking on Sky Sports, Keane recalled fond memories of watching Maradona as a young boy as well as the one and only time he got to see the World Cup icon in the flesh while on international duty with Ireland.

The Irishman said:"It was more the '82 World Cup that I fell in love with the game - particularly watching Maradona.

"And also as a young kid watching Italian football, and him at Napoli.

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"Absolutely amazing. Never got to see him play but got to see him training in Seville.

"I think we were playing in a qualifier with Ireland in the '94 World Cup, he was at Seville at the time and we used their training facilities.

"We just watched him training one afternoon - the senior players. I remember Jack Charlton was going mad, saying: "Come on, get on the bus!"

"We all said: "No, no...we're watching Maradona."

"He was only training doing free-kicks. Brilliant, brilliant player. World Class.

"Even with all his flaws, that was part of the attraction as well for me, I thought. Absolute genius and great memories watching him."

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While Maradona made quite the impression on Keane during their chance encounter in Seville, it would appear that the Argentinean was equally impressed with what he saw from the Irishman.

Keane was the standout star for the Republic during their visit to Spain, impressing for Ireland in a crucial World Cup qualifier in a performance that caught the eye of El Diego.

According a report from The Independent at the time, Maradona told reporters: “He [Keane] impressed me with everything he did - nobody could touch him that day. He is for the future."