Shilton admits ‘animosity’ to Maradona; would like to have cleared the air

Date published: Thursday 26th November 2020 12:13 - Neil Foster

Lionel Messi Diego Maradona Argentina

Former England goalkeeper Peter Shilton admits he never had a chance to bury the hatchet with Diego Maradona after the late star’s infamous ‘hand of god’ World Cup goal.

Shilton, now 71, was between the posts for the Three Lions in the 1986 World Cup quarter-final against Argentina.

Maradona was widely recognised as the greatest player in the world and the one England had to stop to progress. They kept him quiet for much of the first half but the game changed just six minutes after the interval.

As the ball looped into the England box, Shilton aimed a punch to clear his lines. The diminutive South American had no chance to head the ball and used his hand to gain an advantage.

It flew into the net and the goal stood despite vehement England protests. Neither the referee nor his two assistants saw the incident, and Bobby Robeson’s side were rattled.

Maradona then went on to score one of the greatest World Cup goals of all time in a 2-1 victory. Many England players refused to shake his hand after the final whistle.

Shilton has been criticised over the years for not beating his opponent to the ball. And it seems the incident still rankles him, as he told Good Morning Britain a day after Maradona’s passing.

“Thirty four years now and people ask me what I think and they say ‘how can a little fella out jump you’ and all that rubbish,” he said. “You live with that because it’s just a wind-up really.

“At the end of the day I think it did cost us the match, because it was the first goal in the match, a very important game.”

Too late for handshake

Maradona died of a heart attack on Wednesday and there have been tributes from ex-players. Many feel he was right up there with Brazilian Pele as the greatest to have kicked a ball.

Having graced the game with Barcelona and Napoli, he was well known to European fans. But the man from Buenos Aires will always be remembered by English supporters for that one moment.

Shilton struggled to come to terms with what happened but confessed that he would like to have met his nemesis.

“That was 34 years to go, I never had the chance to meet him, there were a few occasions where we were supposed to come together,” he added. “Unfortunately we didn’t get chance to shake hands and put an end to the bit of animosity that was there through him not really admitting to it.”

 

 

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