Referee reveals why he could have sent Maradona off before 1990 World Cup final

Maradona Argentina 1990Getty

The referee in charge of the 1990 World Cup final that saw West Germany defeat Argentina 1-0 in Rome has revealed he could have sent off Diego Maradona before the game even began. 

Maradona had led his nation to the title four years prior but both he and Argentina struggled to reach those same heights in Italy. 

After scraping their way to the final, Argentina were forced to field a side without four suspended players and ended the match with nine men after Pedro Monzon and Gustavo Dezotti were both sent off.  

Maradona himself was fortunate to have played the game with the referee in charge, Edgardo Codesal, admitting the star's behaviour prior to kick off could have seen him handed a red card. 

"I could have sent him off before the game started as he was swearing profusely during the national anthem," Codesal told Uruguayan network Tirando Paredes when asked about Maradona. 

"Later when I decided to send off Monzon, Maradona approached me and claimed I was a thief and on the FIFA payroll.

"I saw Maradona do some remarkable things on the pitch and also saw that his knee had ballooned from aggressive tackling. 

"As a player he was the best but as a person he was an unpleasant person and one of the worst I've gotten to know in my life."

West Germany won the final after being awarded a controversial penalty in the 85th minute with Maradona adamant Codesal didn't want Argentina to win the match. 

“Our players ran hard, but then came this man who ruined everything for us,” Maradona said of Codesal at the time.

“This man was scared that we would get to penalties. He wanted to make the Italian people happy. The black hand of this man expelled Monzon for a normal action, and later he called a penalty against us from his imagination.

“I have been crying for a long time. Football has been my life and I wasn’t crying because we got second place, but because of the way we lost. This man didn’t have any right to call that penalty.”