Football legend Maradona tells of shock at Sheikh Rashid’s death

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DUBAI // Sheikha Fatima, mother of the nation, has sent her condolences to Sheikha Hind bint Maktoum Al Maktoum over the death of her son, Sheikh Rashid bin Mohammed.

Sheikha Fatima, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation, expressed her grief and sympathy to Sheikha Hind bint Maktoum Al Maktoum, wife of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.

She also gave her deepest regards and wishes to Sheikh Rashid’s sisters on her visit to Zabeel Palace.

The National has opened a book of condolences to allow you to share your sympathies over the tragic loss of Sheikh Rashid bin Mohammed. Click here to offer your condolences.

Sheikha Fatima prayed to Allah the Almighty to bless the soul of the deceased with mercy in Paradise and bestow patience and solace on his mother, sisters and family, and the people of the UAE.

Sheikha Hind expressed her gratitude to Sheikha Fatima. The mourning mother also accepted condolences on Monday from other sheikhas, female ministers, wives of foreign envoys, dignitaries and Emirati women.

Among those who offered their sympathies were Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan and an accompanying delegation. Queen Rania expressed her sorrow and prayed that Sheikh Rashid’s soul rest in eternal peace.

Sheikha Hind also received condolences from Sheikha Jawahir bint Hamad Al Thani, wife of Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, emir of Qatar; a Kuwaiti delegation led by Sheikha Anoud Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah and Sheikha Nooriya Sabah Al Salem Al Sabah; and a Bahraini delegation led by Sheikha Hessa bint Hamad Al Khalifa and Sheikha Najla bint Hamad Al Khalifa.

Sheikha Hind thanked the Arab women delegations for their gesture and heartfelt solace on the death of her son.

Football legend Diego Maradona also paid his respects to the late Sheikh Rashid, who died aged 33 at the weekend after a heart attack.

Maradona described him as a man whose words were filled with “simplicity, humility and great love”. He said: “I met the late Sheikh Rashid at the Dubai World Cup and we spoke about a range of sporting issues.

“I realised at the time that he was a sports expert and highly cultivated. At the time, I was Al Wasl’s coach.”

Al Ittihad, the Arabic-language sister paper of The National, reported Maradona said the two shared a passion for football.

“He told me that he had admired me from an early age and he loved my game. He even discussed details of matches I had played a long time ago with the Argentinian team.

“The late Sheikh Rashid asked me if we could play together in a friendly match sometime. And because I loved him so much, I gave him one of my jerseys with the number 10.”

Sheikh Rashid was a successful international horseman, winning two gold medals at the 2006 Doha Asian Olympics in the 120-kilometre Endurance Individual Team Mixed events,.

“He once asked me to create a training programme for him so we could train together,” Maradona said. “I knew he was a first-class athlete and I was impressed with him. I wished we could have worked together. I was deeply shocked to hear about his passing.”

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi told Sheikh Mohammed: “In this hour of personal grief, our thoughts and prayers are with you, your family and the people of the UAE. The people of India join their UAE brothers and sisters in mourning the irreparable loss.”

Qatar’s emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and prime minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser Al Thani also expressed their condolences on Monday.