South American football mourns the passing of boxing legend Mohamed Ali, who died on June 4 at 74 years of age in Phoenix, Arizona.
Brazilian Pele said Saturday he feels a "huge" sadness at the death of the legendary American boxer, whom he described as a "hero".
"We spent many moments together and we always kept in touch all these years. Sad. I wish he rests with God, and strength and love for his family," the Brazilian star said.
Diego Armando Maradona, in turn, posted a message on the social network Facebook where he said: "The best of all time by a large margin. He was the only man who made me see my dad cry when I saw the fight between Sugar Ray Leonard and Tommy Herns in Las Vegas in '81. So how can I not feel this loss, someone my dad admired? In the ring he was a dancer."
Another player who lamented the death of Ali on Twitter was Javier Mascherano.
Ali, an icon of the twentieth century, suffered for more than thirty years with Parkinson's disease and had been hospitalized twice in late 2014 and early 2015 with pneumonia and a urinary tract infection.
Besides being the best fighter of all time, he retired from the ring in 1980, went down in history as a great defender of civil rights.