Gary Lineker puts the boot in: England star who faced Diego Maradona at 1986 World Cup says ‘hopefully he’ll find comfort in the hands of God’
Gary Lineker today paid tribute to Diego Maradona following his death aged 60, saying that he would hopefully ‘finally find some comfort in the hands of God’.
The ex-England star, who famously faced the Argentine footballer at the World Cup in 1986, tweeted: ‘Reports from Argentina that Diego Armando Maradona has died.
‘By some distance the best player of my generation and arguably the greatest of all time.
‘After a blessed but troubled life, hopefully he’ll finally find some comfort in the hands of God. #RIPDiego.’
England striker Gary Lineker (second left) scores during the World Cup quarter-finals defeat by Argentina at the Azteca stadium in Mexico City on June 22, 1986
But the tweet did not go down well with all his followers, with one saying: ‘Not the time to make puns Gary.’ Lineker replied: ‘Don’t be ridiculous. It’s heartfelt.’
Another said: ‘Show some respect. Being an asshole does not fit you, or so I thought.’ But Lineker replied: ‘Sorry, where’s the disrespect?’
The Argentina World Cup winner and the national team’s former manager had been in hospital in Buenos Aires after surgery to remove a blood clot on the brain earlier this month.
Maradona is widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time and was the inspiration for Argentina’s World Cup success in Mexico in 1986.
Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ goal against England in the 1986 quarter-finals, when he pushed the ball into the net with his hand, earned him infamy
Maradona followed up the ‘Hand of God’ goal by scoring the ‘goal of the century’, a remarkable solo effort, in the same game against England in 1986
He also led the country to the final of the 1990 tournament in Italy and managed them in South Africa in 2010.
Maradona’s successes made him a global star and a national hero in Argentina but his career was also blighted by controversies on and off the field.
His ‘Hand of God’ goal against England in the 1986 quarter-finals, when he pushed the ball into the net with his hand, earned him infamy – although he followed up by scoring the ‘goal of the century’, a remarkable solo effort, in the same game.
His international playing career ended in shame when he failed a drugs test at the 1994 World Cup in the United States and he was notorious for a wayward lifestyle.
The tweet by Lineker did not go down well with all his followers, with some criticising him
He was also banned from football in 1991 after testing positive for cocaine while playing for Napoli.
However, he remained a revered figure at the Italian club, where he won two Serie A titles.
He also played for Barcelona, Sevilla, Boca Juniors and Newell’s Old Boys and was most recently manager of Gimnasia y Esgrima in La Plata, Argentina.
It is understood UEFA will hold a minute’s silence at all of tonight’s Champions League matches in Maradona’s memory.
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