‘When he scored, I thought about Napoli and certainly not myself’: Diego Maradona reveals delight for Dries Mertens after he broke his goal record and urges Belgian to sign new deal
- Diego Maradona was watching on as Dries Mertens broke his Napoli goal record
- Maradona, who is still worshipped in Naples to this day, scored 115 times
- After a brace against RB Salzburg in the Champions League, Mertens is on 116
- Maradona praised the Belgian and urged the club to offer him a new contract
Football legend Diego Maradona has heaped praise on Dries Mertens for breaking his famous Napoli goalscoring record, which has stood since 1991.
Mertens hit a brace against Red Bull Salzburg in the Champions League on Wednesday, which saw him overtake Maradona as he moved on to 116 goals for the Serie A side.
Maradona, who is still adored in Naples and has banners bearing his name in the Stadio San Paolo to this day, marvelled in the Belgian taking his mantle and urged him to sign a new deal with the club.
Diego Maradona has heaped praise on Dries Mertens for breaking his famous scoring record
Mertens hit a brace against Red Bull Salzburg in the Champions League to surpass Maradona
The 32-year-old Belgian is now on 116 goals for the Serie A side in all competitions
‘For me, it wasn’t a disappointment. In fact, I applauded Mertens. When he scored, I thought about Napoli and certainly not myself,’ Maradona told Corriere dello Sport.
‘I watch all their games; especially those in the Champions League. The game against Salzburg was exciting, not beautiful but nice enough because when you win it’s always great.
‘Mertens was born to be a striker, but he didn’t know. All his goals couldn’t be scored by someone who isn’t a striker at heart.
‘I’d like to do something so that Mertens doesn’t leave. If it’s right for a professional to always look for a better salary, but it’s also true that in no other corner of the world would he feel loved, respected, pampered and important like he does in Naples.’
Maradona, who currently manages Gimnasia in Argentina, joked he would sign Mertens up
The Argentine star scored 115 goals for Napoli during his playing days in Serie A
Maradona, who is currently managing Club de Gimnasia in Argentina, then went on to speak as if directly to the club itself, suggesting the powers that be should tie Mertens down sooner rather than later, despite his age.
‘Dear President, don’t let him get away. He’s over 30 years old, I know, but he runs, plays and scores goals with the freshness and enthusiasm of a young lad.
‘Then, if he really should leave, Mertens should know that in La Plata, there will always be a place for him at my Gimnasia.’