Robin van Persie has recalled the moment Diego Maradona told him that he possessed the same quality in his left foot as the Argentina legend.
Football icon Maradona passed away last week at the age of 60, with the game since paying tribute to perhaps the greatest player in the history of the sport.
Famed for the quality he possessed in his left foot, Maradona was also seemingly an admirer of other great left-footed players, judging by what he told former Arsenal and Manchester United forward Van Persie when the pair met in Dubai during Maradona’s stint as coach of Al-Wasl between 2011 and 2012.
Writing in his column for Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, Van Persie recalled bumping into the 1986 World Cup winner.
“‘Robbie, Robbie!’, he cried,” said Van Persie.
“He walked up to me, gave me a kiss, hugged me and said how much he liked it.
“As a result, a lot of tension immediately disappeared. He started a wonderful conversation through his interpreter.
“He started over my left leg. ‘Robbie, you have my left leg. We both have a special left leg.’
“He also took hold of my left leg and gave it a kiss.”
In awe of one of his heroes, Van Persie also asked Maradona if they could play football together.
“I said I didn’t want to impose and that I didn’t want a shirt or anything from him,” he continued. “But you’d make me happy if we could hold up with the ball for 30 seconds together.
“He loved it. Fortunately, everything went well, I did a few nice tricks, which went well and he did them too.”
Van Persie also detailed his admiration for Maradona at a young age.
“As a young player I was triggered by Maradona and that has never disappeared,” he wrote.
“He was unique as a football player and as a person. He was extreme in every way, with his playing and with his personality,
“Yes, he has made mistakes in his life. But who hasn’t? Have the people who bring it up never made mistakes in their lives?”