Gallery: Mandela and football

Football has paid tribute to Nelson Mandela, after the iconic former South African president died at the age of 95.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who met Mandela several times as South Africa prepared to host the 2010 World Cup, said: "It is in deep mourning that I pay my respects to an extraordinary person, probably one of the greatest humanists of our time and a dear friend of mine: Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

"He and I shared an unwavering belief in the extraordinary power of football to unite people in peace and friendship, and to teach basic social and educational values as a school of life."

Footballers including Cristiano Ronaldo, Jack Wilshere, Rio Ferdinand, Yaya Toure, Ruud Gullit and Gary Lineker - many of whom will have been fortunate enough to meet Mandela - along with many of the world's biggest football clubs were quick to pay tribute via Twitter and other social media.

1993: Mandela lines-up with the Man Utd squad prior to a friendly against Kaizer Chiefs.

1993: Mandela lines-up with the Man Utd squad prior to a friendly against Kaizer Chiefs.

1993: Mandela greets Arsenal skipper Tony Adams ahead of a pre-season friendly.

1993: Mandela greets Arsenal skipper Tony Adams ahead of a pre-season friendly.

1996: Mandela (front, centre) celebrates with the victorious South Africa team at the  Africa Cup of Nations.

1996: Mandela (front, centre) celebrates with the victorious South Africa team at the Africa Cup of Nations.

2003: The England squad (including Ian Walker...) visit Mandela during a summer tour of South Africa.

2003: The England squad (including Ian Walker...) visit Mandela during a summer tour of South Africa.

2004: Mandela with FIFA President Sepp Blatter shortly after it is announced South Africa will host the 2010 World Cup.

2004: Mandela with FIFA President Sepp Blatter shortly after it is announced South Africa will host the 2010 World Cup.

2007: Barcelona's stars meet Mandela ahead of a match against Mamelodi Sundowns in Pretoria.

2007: Barcelona's stars meet Mandela ahead of a match against Mamelodi Sundowns in Pretoria.

2007: Samuel Eto'o and Pele were both delighted to meet Nelson ahead of his 89th birthday.

2007: Samuel Eto'o and Pele were both delighted to meet Nelson ahead of his 89th birthday.

2010: The Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium prepares to host World Cup action.

2010: The Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium prepares to host World Cup action.

2010: Mandela attends the closing ceremony of the 2010 World Cup in Johannesburg.

2010: Mandela attends the closing ceremony of the 2010 World Cup in Johannesburg.

2007: Former AC Milan star George Weah makes a peace sign at Robben Island, where Mandela spent 18 years in prison.

2007: Former AC Milan star George Weah makes a peace sign at Robben Island, where Mandela spent 18 years in prison.

2003: Franz Beckenbauer visits Mandela in Cape Town to present a gift from the 2006 World Cup Organising Committee.

2003: Franz Beckenbauer visits Mandela in Cape Town to present a gift from the 2006 World Cup Organising Committee.

2010: A portrait of Mandela etched into a field in Castagnaro, northern Italy to celebrate the 2010 World Cup.

2010: A portrait of Mandela etched into a field in Castagnaro, northern Italy to celebrate the 2010 World Cup.

1990: Huge crowds gather at Wembley - the home of football - for a concert to celebrate his freedom.

1990: Huge crowds gather at Wembley - the home of football - for a concert to celebrate his freedom.


SHARES
comments