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From the Hand of God to shooting a journalist - Diego Maradona’s most controversial moments

20:00 EAT 29/06/2018
Diego Maradona 2018 World Cup
The Argentina legend has become infamous for a raft of unsavoury incidents throughout his career as a player and coach, on and off the pitch

  • Diego Maradona Greece 1994 World Cup

    Hand with the Gun

    In the months leading up to the 1994 World Cup, Maradona was really struggling for form and fitness, and was being hounded by the press because of it. Maradona reacted to this in a way only Maradona can, by firing a compressed air-rifle at reporters outside his home. Some reporters who were hit with the pellets suffered minor injuries. 
  • Diego Maradona Argentina press conference 2010

    Maradona runs over cameraman & curses the man

    It was the day when Maradona was to name his 23-man squad for the 2010 World Cup. His stresses were made even worse when he ran over a cameraman as he was driving to his news conference. Instead of being apologetic and asking if the man was alright, he hurled abuse at him and blamed him for the accident. Witnesses close to the incident recalled how Maradona could he heard saying: "What an a**hole you are. How can you put your leg there where it can get run over, man?"
  • Diego Maradona Uruguay Argentina 2009

    Suck it up

    A Maradona-led Argentina were under pressure through their qualifying campaign for the 2010 World Cup but they eventually secured their place by beating Uruguay 1-0. Maradona could not hide his delight at this result and, after the game, was caught making a rather offensive gesture outside a window of their team bus, which can be named as a 'chupar'. Just as you thought it could not get any more controversial, during his post-match press conference he said: "They can suck it and carry on sucking it. This is for all Argentines, minus the journalists."
  • Diego Maradona Argentina West Germany World Cup final 1990

    Maradona's curse

    Maradona and Argentina went into the 1990 World Cup full of critics, with no one apart from their own fans wanting them to do well because of their negative football. In their game with West Germany, Argentina's national anthem was roundly booed by the Germans. Maradona reacted furiously to this and could be seen mouthing the offensive Spanish phrase, “hijos de puta”, down the camera - which does not really need translating to understand what he is saying. 
  • Diego Maradona Argentina 1990 World Cup final

    Tears of Maradona

    Argentina somehow managed to claw their way to the 1990 World Cup final against West Germany after winning two penalty shootouts on the way. In a poor showcase of a final, Argentina were defeated but Maradona was made to feel worse at what he saw as an awful refereeing display with the game decided by two Argentina red cards and a being penalty awarded to Germany. The forward could not hold in his emotions and, in a now infamous image, can be seen in tears with a runners-up medal around his neck. 
  • Ariel Garce Carlos Tevez Diego Maradona Argentina

    Maradona & his amazing Garce-coloured dreamcoat

    There was widespread anger all across Argentina when people heard that Javier Zanetti - who had just won the treble with Inter Milan - had been omitted from the 2010 World Cup squad. it has been suggested that the then virtually unknown Ariel Garce was picked ahead of him just because Maradona had a dream that Argentina won the tournament, with Garce being the only player he could remember. 
  • Maradona Pele

    Pele 'debuted with a lad'

    The two players who many call the two greatest players of all-time, Pele and Maradona, have never really seen eye to eye and have had heated exchanges in the past. One of these was in the lead-up to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, which started when Pele called Maradona a "bad role model" because of his past use of recreational drugs. Maradona responded in very Maradona fashion, using a press conference to refer to rumours that Pele lost his virginity to a man: "What do you want me to say? He debuted with a lad.”
  • Diego Maradona Argentina Peru 2009

    The Dive of Maradona

    Argentina headed into their penultimate 2010 World Cup qualifier in the pouring rain against Peru needing a win. They looked like grabbing a vital three points with them 1-0 up until Preu equalised in the 89th minute. Argentina's chances looked dim at best, but remarkably the found a winner deep into stoppage time, sending everyone including Maradona wild, as the manager ran up the touchline to theatrically dive across the waterlogged pitch.
  • Diego Maradona Argentina World Cup 2018

    Maradona's middle finger celebration against Nigeria

    Argentina headed into their final game in Group D needing to beat Nigeria to sneak through to the last 16. They started well and were ahead via a piece of Lionel Messi magic early on, but Nigeria equalised just after half-time with a penalty. The score remained at 1-1 until late on and, just as it looked like they were heading out, Manchester United defender Marcos Rojo found space in the box and fired home into the bottom corner to send the stadium into pandemonium. This included Maradona who was watching from the stands. As the goal went in he was hugging those around him before proceeding to throw up both middle fingers in the direction of the Nigeria fans. 
  • Diego Maradona Peter Shilton Argentina England 1986 World Cup

    'Hand of God'

    The most infamous goal in World Cup history occurred during the quarter-final of the 1986 World Cup in Mexico between Argentina and England. With the score locked at 0-0 six minutes into the second half, Maradona chased a mis-hit clearance by England midfielder Steve Hodge, jumped above goalkeeper Peter Shilton before flicking it past the veteran with the outside of his left fist. The referee failed to spot the infringement and Argentina took a one-goal lead. Minutes later, Maradona would score the ‘Goal of the Century’ after dribbling past half of the England team – Argentina would win 2-1 and go on to lift the World Cup. After the quarter-final, Maradona said that the goal had been scored “a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God,” also saying it was revenge for the Falklands War between England and Argentina four years earlier.