Argentine legend Diego Maradona has become the latest addition to the "teqball family" after receiving two customised tables as a gift from fellow former footballer and friend Ronaldinho.
The tables, one featuring a stylised photo of Maradona set on the Argentina flag and the other with Brazilian star Ronaldinho’s signature, will be used by players of Culiacán-based Mexican second-tier team Dorados de Sinaloa – managed by Maradona – to warm up for training and games.
"Sometimes we don’t know what to give as a gift, yet I came up with the idea and you sent me two tables," Maradona said in a video on Instagram filmed on the sidelines of a Dorados de Sinaloa training session.
"I thank you brother.
"I wait for when you want to train and play, so you can teach the children.
"I invite you to Culiacán because it’s also my players who thank you.”
Widely considered one of the greatest footballers of all time, Maradona earned the nickname "El Pibe de Oro" (The Golden Boy) during a playing career which saw him play in four FIFA World Cups, winning as captain of Argentina while also taking home the Golden Ball for player of the tournament at Mexico 1986.
He was named joint FIFA Player of the 20th Century alongside Brazilian Pelé and was the first player in history to set the world record transfer fee twice, first when he transferred to Spanish giants Barcelona for £5 million ($6.5 million/€5.8 million) in 1982 and again when he moved to Italian side Napoli for £6.9 million ($8.9 million/€8 million) in 1984.
Since retiring, he has pursued a coaching career, managing the Argentinean national team and both Al Wasl and Fujairah in the UAE Pro-League.
In September 2018, Maradona took up the position of manager at Dorados de Sinaloa.
Maradona has named Ronaldinho one of his favourite players of all time, with the pair establishing a close friendship in recent years.
Ronaldinho recently announced a partnership with teqball, a new football-based sport played on a custom-engineered curved table designed to test the skills of professional and amateur footballers, sparking Maradona’s interest in the sport.
Teqball’s co-founders are endeavouring to see the sport one day feature at the Olympic Games, a goal Ronaldinho has openly supported.
"I hope to God that teqball becomes an Olympic sport, then I can also have the chance to win an Olympic medal," the 2002 FIFA World Cup winner said.
Ronaldinho joined Arsenal legend Robert Pirès, former Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham defender William Gallas and Portugal's Simão Sabrosa on the list of retired professionals to have backed teqball.
The sport's signature curved tables are now a common feature at the training grounds of many of the world’s top clubs, including Arsenal, Barcelona, Manchester United and Real Madrid.