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Tue 22 Sep 2015 09:13 AM

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Sheikh Rashid was "a first class athlete," says Maradona

Argentinean football legend got to know the late royal through his Dubai sporting roles

Sheikh Rashid was "a first class athlete," says Maradona
Argentine legend Diego Maradona. (AFP/Getty Images)

Dubai's late Sheikh Rashid Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who died of a heart attack on Saturday, was a "first class athlete," football legend Diego Maradona has said.

The Argentinian football icon met Sheikh Rashid several times while he was working in Dubai in 2011 as a the coach of Al Wasl football club and through his role as ambassador for Dubai Sports Council.

Sheikh Rashid was a keen sportsman and was appointed President of the Dubai Cultural and Sports Club in 1997 and served as President of the UAE National Olympic Committee from 2008 to 2009.

“I met the late Shaikh Rashid at the Dubai World Cup and we spoke about a range of sporting issues,” Maradona told Al Ittihad newspaper in a statement. “I realised then that he had first class experience and knowledge of sport.

“I found he had a great enthusiasm for sport and exercise, I kept in touch with him and asked after him a lot, so when I heard the news of his death I was in great shock.

“He was a great horseman and a first class athlete who impressed me a great deal and I wished to work with him, especially as I have an inclination for riding horses,” the World Cup legend added.

Sheikh Rashid died on the morning of September 19, 2015 after suffering a heart attack. Funeral prayers were held at Zabeel Mosque and his burial was held in Bur Dubai's Umm Hurair cemetery on Saturday.

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