New Delhi, Nov 26 : “I dream of being able to score another goal against the English, with the right hand this time!” said Diego Maradona and burst into laughter. It turned out to be the last interview of his life, given to French weekly French Football last month.
Maradona had by then admitted numerous times that he had scored with his hand in the 1986 World Cup quarter-final against Argentina’s heated rivals England. He was not so ready to accept the involvement of his hand right after that match, however, saying that the goal was scored “a little with my head, and a little with the hand of God”.
Maradona’s performance in that match immortalised him in his country’s culture and in the history of world football. It also perhaps best summarises his career and life. If the first was scored through trickery and stood solely because the officials did not spot the transgression, the second was a work of genius that one can only dream of scoring in any match, let alone a quarter-final match of a World Cup.
Four minutes after the “Hand of God” goal, Maradona went on a 60-yard run with the ball from midfield, dribbling past six English players, and ended the move with a feint that left goalkeeper Peter Shilton on the ground. He slotted the ball into the back of the net and scored what has since been called “The Goal of the Century”. He completed his dash in 10 seconds and the players left in his wake apart from Shilton were Peter Beardsley, Peter Reid, Terry Butcher (twice) and Terry Fenwick.
“I made the play to give it to (Jorge) Valdano, but when I got to the area they surrounded me and I had no space,” said Maradona after the match. “Therefore, I had to continue the play and finish it myself.”
Maradona later complimented the fair play of the English team, saying, “I don’t think I could have done it against any other team because they all used to knock you down; they are probably the noblest in the world.”
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