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James Maddison takes off shirt to reveal tribute to Norwich’s tragic Sophie Taylor after scoring for Leicester City

PUBLISHED: 17:12 16 March 2019 | UPDATED: 10:42 17 March 2019

Leicester City's James Maddison celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game and reveals a t-shirt that reads 'RIP Sophie I Love You' before being booked by match referee Michael Oliver (left) for removing his shirt during the Premier League match at Turf Moor, Burnley. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.

Leicester City's James Maddison celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game and reveals a t-shirt that reads 'RIP Sophie I Love You' before being booked by match referee Michael Oliver (left) for removing his shirt during the Premier League match at Turf Moor, Burnley. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.

PA Wire

Former Norwich City player James Maddison revealed a t-shirt paying tribute to city girl Sophie Taylor after scoring in Leicester’s match against Burnley today.

Maddison removed his shirt after scoring for his new team to reveal a t-shirt reading “RIP Sophie I love you” underneath.

Maddison became five-year-old Sophie’s “best friend” as she battled cancer and was left heartbroken by her death in January.

MORE: “She was a real life super hero” - defiant five-year-old Sophie Taylor given spectacular send-off after cancer fight

Maddison first struck up a friendship with Sophie after she was a mascot for Norwich City and the England player has kept in touch with the family.

Leicester City's James Maddison celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game and reveals a t-shirt that reads 'RIP Sophie I Love You' before being booked by match referee Michael Oliver (left) for removing his shirt during the Premier League match at Turf Moor, Burnley. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.Leicester City's James Maddison celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game and reveals a t-shirt that reads 'RIP Sophie I Love You' before being booked by match referee Michael Oliver (left) for removing his shirt during the Premier League match at Turf Moor, Burnley. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.

He visited the Sprowston youngster in a hospice in her final days and after her death posted the pictures to thousands of followers on Instagram and Twitter with a message saying “Rest In Peace my little Angel. I love you always & forever.”

MORE: Footballer James Maddison shares photo of “little angel” Sophie Taylor in touching tribute following her death

Last week Sophie’s parents posted on a Facebook page which followed their daughter’s journey about Maddison.

Speaking as Sophie they said: “My best friend @madders has been brilliant for me and my family.

Leicester City's James Maddison celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game and reveals a t-shirt that reads 'RIP Sophie I Love You' before being booked by match referee Michael Oliver for removing his shirt during the Premier League match at Turf Moor, Burnley. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.Leicester City's James Maddison celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game and reveals a t-shirt that reads 'RIP Sophie I Love You' before being booked by match referee Michael Oliver for removing his shirt during the Premier League match at Turf Moor, Burnley. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.

“When I relapsed he didn’t hesitate to come and see me at Addenbrooke’s. He also came to hospice to see me too.

MORE: ‘Strongest person I’ve ever met’ - James Maddison praises bravery of best friend after year-long cancer fight

“Since my passing he has looked out for Mummy, Daddy, Evie and Connor as well as grieving himself.

“At my send off he did a really lovely speech in my funeral service and joined my family and friends for my wake.

MORE: ‘Mummy and daddy will mourn forever’ - Fearless five-year-old Sophie Taylor dies a year after cancer diagnosis

“My best friend is a great footballer but I like him more because he is a great person and I always wanted to spend time with him and have a kickabout.

“I know he misses me just like all my relatives and friends. But I know he was there for me when I needed him and I am grateful for that.”

Maddison was shown a yellow card for removing his shirt, as per Fifa rules, but referee Michael Oliver then gave him a pat on the back afterwards.

Leicester City's James Maddison celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game and reveals a t-shirt that reads 'RIP Sophie I Love You' before being booked by match referee Michael Oliver for removing his shirt during the Premier League match at Turf Moor, Burnley. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.Leicester City's James Maddison celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game and reveals a t-shirt that reads 'RIP Sophie I Love You' before being booked by match referee Michael Oliver for removing his shirt during the Premier League match at Turf Moor, Burnley. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.

Maddison and Sophie were so close that the midfielder was a pallbearer and gave a reading at her funeral at St Faith’s Crematorium on February 13.

Alex Taylor, Sophie’s father, previously said: “His friendship with Sophie was like family. They just had that mutual love for one another. His eyes lit up when he saw Sophie and how happy she was. She was always just so buoyant around him.

“She was naturally talented at football and she just loved kicking a ball with James.”

• Sophie’s family are fundraising to help other families in her memory. To donate, click here.

Sophie Taylor passed away on January 18, one year after being diagnosed with cancer. Picture: Alex TaylorSophie Taylor passed away on January 18, one year after being diagnosed with cancer. Picture: Alex Taylor

James Maddison carries Sophie Taylor on Saturday, April 7. Photo: Jasonpix/NCFCJames Maddison carries Sophie Taylor on Saturday, April 7. Photo: Jasonpix/NCFC

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