Alejandro Sabella and Lionel Messi
Alejandro Sabella and Lionel Messi

Less than two weeks after the demise of Diego Maradona, his compatriot Alejandro Sabella, who led Argentina to the World Cup final in 2014, passed away at 66 after years of battling with cancer and heart problem.

Sabella and Maradona played for the Argentine national side in the 1980s.

The Argentine died due to "secondary dilated cardiomyopathy and long time cardiotoxicity," said the hospital where Sabella had spent the last couple of weeks.

Lionel Messi, the Argentine national team skipper, paid his tribute to the former coach. Taking to Instagram, Messi wrote: "It was a pleasure to share so much with you. Alejandro was a great person, aside from being a model professional who shaped my career and helped me learn much from him."

"We enjoyed together some of my favourite footballing memories during qualification for the World Cup and in the World Cup itself. My condolences to all his family and friends."

Hailing from Buenos Aires, Sabella played for River Plate, Sheffield United, Leeds United, and Estudiantes, gradually becoming one of the most respected Argentine football figures due to his tactical prowess.

Apart from his skills as a player, Sabella is also known for nearly taking Argentina to their third World Cup title six years ago in Brazil. But that remained a dream, not only for Sabella but also for Messi whose international trophy drought has continued over the years.

Sabella had vowed to resign from his post prior to the final no matter the result. But a dream which was nearly achieved, crashed when Germany's Mario Gotze scored in the extra-time to deny Argentina of their third title.

Now, the world continues to mourn not one, but two Argentine greats who passed away in less than two weeks of one another.

RIP Alejandro Sabella.

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Free Press Journal