WATCH: Gary Lineker Shares Amazing Anecdote About Diego Maradona

“I feltlike applauding,” was the rueful comment of Lineker after Maradona demolished England.

2 min read
Gary Lineker and Diego Maradona. 

Former England footballer Gary Lineker, a legend in his own right, and now one of the most accomplished names in football broadcasting. Part of the England side at the 1986 World Cup, Lineker won the Golden Boot and watched on in disbelief as Diego Maradona did Diego Maradona things on the field.

On Wednesday, Lineker, who was hosting the UEFA Champions League show on BT Sport paid tribute to his one time rival.

“I felt like applauding,” was the rueful comment of Lineker after Maradona demolished England.

Maradona, one of the greatest players of all time, died on Wednesday at the age of 60, plunging his native Argentina and football fans around the world into mourning.

Renowned for inspiring Argentina to win the World Cup in 1986, he was most loved at club level for his spells with Boca Juniors in his homeland and Napoli in Italy, where he won the club’s only two Serie A titles and a UEFA Cup.

Listen in to an anecdote from before an exhibition game at Wembley where Lineker played on the same side as Maradona.

The referee Ali Nasser from the famous game in the 1986 World Cup was asked about the Hand of God incident too and he recollected the incident in a conversation with AFP. “I didn’t see the hand, but I had a doubt,” Nasser, now 76, said. “You can see the pictures: I stepped back to take the advice of my assistant, Bulgarian (Bogdan) Dochev, and when he said it was good, I gave the goal. FIFA gave me a 9.4 [referee rating] on this game, I did what I had to do, but there was confusion. Dochev later indicated that he had seen two arms, and he didn’t know if it was Shilton’s or Maradona’s.”

The Hand of God Goal from the 1986 World Cup. 
The Hand of God Goal from the 1986 World Cup. 
(Image: Twitter)

Peter Shilton has had his say in the Mail, and appeared unwilling to forgive Maradona for that handball goal.

“What I don’t like is that he never apologised. Never at any stage did he say he had cheated and that he would like to say sorry. Instead, he used his ‘Hand of God’ line. That wasn’t right. It seems he had greatness in him but sadly no sportsmanship.”

Co-incidentally, Maradona’s death comes on the same date, 25 November, that George Best passed on 15 years ago. Maradona often talked about Best and how the Manchester United legend was one of his childhood heroes. Another one of Maradona’s inspirations, Fidel Castro, also passed on 25 November, four years ago.

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