This week marked the 30th anniversary of one of the most controversial goals in football history.
Many England fans will never forgive the legendary Argentine for his ‘Hand of God’ goal against the Three Lions at the 1986 World Cup finals in Mexico.
Maradona, who stood at 5ft 5in tall, somehow leapt above the 6ft 1in Peter Shilton and punched the ball into the back of the net. Much to his amazement, none of the match officials spotted the infringement and the goal was given.
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Maradona has always been proud of his ‘Gambetta’ - a South American term given to a particular move on a football pitch which involves both skill and deceit - just as much, you suspect, as the ‘Goal of the Century’ he scored against Bobby Robson’s side four minutes later.
Three decades on from his most infamous moment in football, with the possible exception of the failed drugs tests, and Maradona has once again taunted England - saying it was payback for the Falklands War.
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Maradona's fresh taunt to England
"We played that game with boots and rifles," Maradona was quoted as saying by the Mirror. "After the game we celebrated until we cried.
"It felt like we had done justice, well maybe not justice but made good for the mothers who had lost sons in the Falklands.
"For that goal I thought Shilton was going to clatter me. But it was like he'd taken a Xanax, he pulled out.
"A little guy of 1.67 metres beat a big guy of 1.88 metres to the ball... but with his hand. It was like I robbed their wallets!
"That game was like showing who were the biggest men. I realised from the first scraps that they were playing as if their lives were on the line."
Video: Maradona's 'Hand of God' goal
Video: Maradona's 'Goal of the Century'
Butcher: I'll never forgive Maradona
Not just because of Maradona’s lack of remorse, members of the England team from that day have reiterated that they’ll never forgive the man considered by some as the greatest player of all time.
"I'll never forgive him," Terry Butcher told the Guardian in 2008. "At the end of the day it is not nice when you lose a World Cup quarter-final under those circumstances. It's very hard to forgive and forget in the circumstances.”
Maradona inspired Argentina to World Cup glory
Argentina went on to lift the World Cup, with Maradona playing an instrumental role in the semi-finals against Belgium.
He also starred as Argentina beat West Germany 3-2 in the final, earning him the Golden Ball award.
It’s often claimed that Maradona won the 1986 World Cup single-handedly and while that’s clearly a gross exaggeration - there were some wonderfully talented players in the Argentina squad - it’s abundantly clear that the South American nation wouldn’t have won the tournament without their diminutive but talismanic captain.
Is Diego Maradona the greatest player of all time? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
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