Argentinian soccer great Diego Maradona was a ray of light through dark times according to one of the many compatriots inspired to follow his inspirational example.
Like his idol, Luca Vigilante is a ball-playing midfielder who grew up in Buenos Aires and counts Spain and Italy among his footballing destinations.
At the same age that Maradona was when he led his nation to World Cup glory, Vigilante is playing as an import at Riverside Olympic and paid a heartfelt tribute to the national talisman who died of a heart attack, aged 60, on Wednesday.
"Maradona gave us joy which, in all our history, we never had," said the 26-year-old.
"For us, Argentina is a country where always bad news, things going wrong, corruption, poverty, but Maradona was the person who make people happy.
"For us he will be always there.
"Other people have president or king very important, for us it was Maradona."
Vigilante said his homeland is a country in mourning.
"I wish I could be in Argentina now. Everyone feel like one of the family died. For us, football died this week. He is the essence of football for me.
"My mother was crying when I spoke to her.
"She said she cannot remember any moment compared to winning the World Cup."
He came from nothing to become the bestLuca Vigilante
"People talk about the bad things he did, the drugs and alcohol, but people also say we don't mind what he did with his life, it was what he did for our lives."
Although Vigilante was only four when Maradona retired from playing, he said all Argentinians grow up aware of what the former Barcelona and Napoli star achieved.
Hailing from the suburb of Avellaneda, not far from Maradona's birthplace in Fiorito, Vigilante said FIFA's joint player of the century gave his nation endless pride.
"Buenos Aires is very big. You have beautiful places but little areas all around called villas which are like favelas in Brazil. There are so many and Maradona was from one of those.
"Everyone in Argentina loved him and knows everything about him.
"Growing up we all watched videos of him playing and know everything about what happened at the World Cup, at Barcelona, at Napoli.
"Many people in not good economic situation and Maradona is our inspiration that it does not matter where you are from, you can become important in life.
"Everyone wanted to play like him but he has incredible genetics where his body is perfect and we could not believe he could do these things. Every Argentinian wanted to be like him but impossible because there is only one Diego."
Vigilante's footballing journey has taken in the third divisions of Spain and Greece and fourth in Italy where he experienced first-hand the legacy of a countryman who led Napoli to their only Serie A titles in 1987 and '90.
"Maradona lived 10 lives in one so has a lot of history," he said. "When I went to live in Italy, I realised how important he is there too. I lived in Frosinone between Rome and Naples. Just because I was from Argentina, I was given a job.
"He came from nothing to become the best so people realise that poor people can be important and that happened in Italy too.
"Naples was poor and the North rich, but he still won with Napoli. I visited Naples and when I said I was from Argentina people hug me and show me photos with Maradona and took me to the stadium and his church."
Vigilante explained how Maradona's infamous two goals which defeated England en route to Argentina winning the 1986 World Cup in Mexico were seen as revenge for the Falklands War between the nations just four years earlier.
Asked if he ever met the great man, Vigilante gave an insight into his status and fame within Argentina.
"There is a park where the national team train. When I was young I played for my club, Arsenal, against the under-17 Argentina team and Maradona was at a meeting there. I saw him but not close. There was maybe 100 metres between me and him but about 1000 people also so impossible to get close. Everybody love Diego."