FORMER Saints boss Mauricio Pochettino paid an emotional tribute to countryman Diego Maradona, after the legendary Argentine died this week.

World Cup winner Maradona, who celebrated his 60th birthday last month, is believed to have suffered a heart attack at his Buenos Aries home.

The news has rocked the football world with Maradona widely regarded as one of the greatest players to ever grace the game.

Star names from all corners of the globe have been paying tribute to the former Napoli star, including fellow Argentine Pochettino.

The pair briefly played together in Argentina, for Newell's Old Boys in 1994, also sharing a room with each other during a pre-season tour.

Mauricio’s son Maurizio released a tribute on behalf of his father on Instagram, saying: “Broken with pain. Diego, you were my hero and friend, I was so fortunate to have shared football and life with you.

"You will always be in my heart. All my love to your family.”

A host of current Saints players also used social media to pay their respects, including Jan Bednarek and Kyle Walker-Peters, who simply described Maradona as a "legend".