Maradona had greatness but no sportsmanship: England's Shilton

  • Football
  • Thursday, 26 Nov 2020

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - The Best FIFA Football Awards - Finalists Announcement - London, Britain - September 22, 2017 Peter Shilton during the Finalists Announcement at The Best FIFA Football Awards Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley

(Reuters) - Diego Maradona had greatness in him but his refusal to apologise for his 'Hand of God' goal that helped knock England out of the 1986 World Cup proved he lacked sportsmanship, former England goalkeeper Peter Shilton has said.

Maradona died after suffering a heart attack at his home in the suburbs of Buenos Aires on Wednesday, less than a month after his 60th birthday.

Shilton was in goal for England during their World Cup quarter-final in Mexico, when six minutes into the second half Maradona leapt in front of him to touch a high ball into the net with his fist after the keeper had charged out to punch clear.

"A clear offence. Cheating," Shilton wrote in the Daily Mail.

"As he ran away to celebrate he even looked back twice, as if waiting for the referee's whistle. He knew what he had done. Everybody did -- apart from the referee and two linesmen."

Maradona struck again four minutes later with arguably the greatest goal ever scored at a World Cup after dribbling his way past half the England team, but Shilton said the Argentine's first goal was the one that mattered.

"I don't care what anybody says, it won the game for Argentina," he added.

"He scored a brilliant second almost immediately, but we were still reeling from what had happened minutes earlier ... It has bothered me over the years. I won't lie about that now."

Shilton said the fact Maradona had never apologised still rankled with him and his England team mates from that World Cup.

"It seems he had greatness in him but sadly no sportsmanship ... Most of the England team who played in Mexico feel the way I do to this day," the 71-year-old said.

"On the football field, players do things that maybe they shouldn't do. It happens in the heat of the moment. But if that had been anyone from our England team, I would like to think he would have admitted it afterwards.

"I hope it doesn't taint Maradona's legacy."

(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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