Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona on Saturday lamented the death of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro as the loss of a "great" man who was "like a second father" to him.
"They called me from Buenos Aires and it was a shock" to learn the 90-year-old historic revolutionary leader had died, Maradona said.
"I'm terribly sad as he was like a second father," Maradona told reporters in Zagreb, where he is watching the Davis Cup final between Argentina and Croatia.
Maradona spent time in Cuba on several occasions and underwent rehabilitation treatment for drug abuse. He met Castro on several occasions and expressed warm admiration for the leader of the 1959 Cuban revolution.
Maradona first visited Cuba after the 1986 World Cup which Argentina won after the stocky striker had scored a handballed goal during the quarter-final against England.
Castro referred to the star as a "great friend" while Maradona had a leg tattood with the likeness of the then Cuban president, of whom he once said: "Along with God, he is the reason I am alive."