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18 Apr, 2020 20:31

'Shut up and hug me': Maradona admits he REFUSED to come clean to his teammates after 'Hand of God' World Cup goal against England

'Shut up and hug me': Maradona admits he REFUSED to come clean to his teammates after 'Hand of God' World Cup goal against England

Argentina legend Diego Maradona has revealed that he refused to answer when teammate Sergio Batista immediately asked the striker if he had handled the ball when he scored his infamous goal against England at the 1986 World Cup.

Defender Batista, known as Checho, asked Maradona for the truth after seeing England's outraged players appeal wildly for an infringement when Maradona used his hand to score in an impudent act of trickery that gave Argentina the lead in the quarter-final in Mexico City.

As England's nemesis wheeled away to celebrate the first of his two goals in the 2-1 win, he was forced to divert questions from an incredulous Batista and strike partner Jorge Valdano about the suspect nature of his opener.

"As soon as I put it in, Batista asked me if I did it with my hand,” Maradona recalled to AFA Play, discussing the incident which has been immortalized as the "Hand of God" goal.

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“I said, ‘Shut up and hug me.’ Then they all started hugging me. Valdano also told me: ‘Don’t tell me it was with the hand.’ And I answered the same thing: ‘I’ll tell you later.’”

The goal six minutes after half-time left England fuming, and Maradona doubled their despair four minutes later, arguably capitalizing upon their lack of focus following their desperate remonstrations with Tunisian referee Ali Bin Nasser.

"The English were a rock,” Maradona explained of his first goal. "[Terry] Fenwick, [Terry] Butcher, everyone in the defense was big. When I saw that the ball was going up, I said, 'I’ll never reach it, please come down'.

“I had an idea: put my hand in and put my head in. When I fell, I didn't understand where the ball was. I looked and the ball was in the net, so I started screaming, 'Goal! Goal!'”

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Maradona went on to receive the Golden Ball award for the tournament’s best player as Argentina won the World Cup. Now manager of Argentine side La Plata, he was reunited with the unobservant Bin Nasser years later.

"I visited him while he was in Dubai. He told me one thing: The linesmen awarded the goal and did not see the hand, but there were 80,000 people who did not notice either. I wasn’t the only one in the wrong. The whole stadium was wrong."

Maradona’s interview is one of a series to have been released for free by the Argentine Football Association while the sport is suspended in his homeland.

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