• 35 years ago, Maradona offered victory to Argentina against England
  • Legendary performance of Argentine genius
  • Two highlights: the “Hand of God” and the “goal of the century”

“Half-angel, half-demon”, had titled The team. The demon for the famous “Hand of God”, vector of one of the most controversial goals in the history of football. The angel for the most divine goal that football has given us to see.

35 years ago to the day at Azteca, Diego Maradona delivered against England the most divisive but surely the most magnificent individual performance in the history of the FIFA World Cup ™. FIFA.com returns to this issue of the inimitable Golden Boy and its sides.

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Tribute to Diego Maradona

Maradona almost played in England

In 1978, during a scout tour in South America, Sheffield United manager Harry Haslam was captivated by the young Maradona, 17. The English club agree on a sum of 200,000 pounds sterling with Argentinos Juniors, but the deal fails, the board of directors of United refusing to cover the 15,000 pounds of transfer fees. Instead, the Blades recruit Alejandro Sabella for 160,000 pounds. As for Maradona, after a stint at Boca Juniors, he joined FC Barcelona in 1982 for a record amount of 3 million pounds.

The suits

Ahead of the competition, anticipating the stifling heat of Mexico, the Argentine Federation (AFA) asks that its sky blue and white striped jerseys be made of Aertex, a light fabric with small holes for better breathability. But against Uruguay, in the round of 16, the Argentines are forced to wear their second outfit, dark blue and cotton. The Albicelestes struggling to win 1-0 in this game played in the late afternoon. They thus qualify for a quarter-final against England in which they must once again wear their second outfit.

The kick-off is at noon, when the sun is strongest. Aware that he must find a solution, the coach, Carlos Bilardo, sends Ruben Moschella, a steward, on a shopping mission in the streets of Mexico to find more suitable jerseys. This one returns with two blue models bought in a small shop.

While the two men deliberate between them, Maradona arrives and launches: “It’s a beautiful jersey”, pointing to one of the two models. “With that, we will beat England”. Hastily crafted AFA badges are sewn onto the chosen jerseys, which are then flocked with silver American football-style numbers.

The comment

“Maradona has the ball, he has two players on him,” described Victor Hugo Morales to millions of listeners, when Argentina’s number 10 took possession of the leather in the 55th minute. “Maradona controls, the genius of world football starts on the right… He drops the third and goes to give Burruchaga… Always Maradona! What a genius! What a genius! What a genius! … Ah, ah, ah… Buuuuuuuuut! Excuse me , I want to cry! Good God! Long live football! What a goal! Maradona, after a memorable ride, the most beautiful action of all time! You cosmic kite, what planet are you from ? “

A posteriori, Morales will declare: “Violent emotions, it is a question in the newspaper section of crime. But after what happened to me with this goal, I think I can say that I know a lot about emotions. violent. “

Diego Maradona of Argentina in action against England at Mexico 1986
© Getty Images

Maradona received the ball 60 meters from the English cages, before scoring the “goal of the century”. He only needed ten seconds: he controlled a pass from Hector Enrique then dropped Peter Beardsley, Peter Reid, Terry Butcher, Terry Fenwick, Peter Shilton and again Butcher with a cocktail of explosiveness, speed, footwork and body feints, before sliding the ball into the empty cages.

The Jersey

Steve Hodge unwittingly gave Maradona an assist on his first goal. Unaware thatThe ten marked with his hand and amazed by the second goal of the Argentine virtuoso, the English midfielder will exchange his jersey with that of number 10 albiceleste after the meeting.

Returning to the locker room, Hodge hears about the country … and back at the hotel, he receives the same treatment from Peter Reid, who is sleeping with him. “Not only did Maradona put me in trouble and scored with her hand, but I also have my Hodgy showing me her jersey,” Reid said. “Needless to say, Hodgy received the biggest swearing in her life.”

That didn’t stop Hodge from titling his autobiography The Man with Maradona’s Shirt, the man in the Maradona jersey.

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Hodge, Maradona and the ‘Hand of God’ shirt


“This guy was a brawler from the streets of Buenos Aires. I don’t think we could train him. He was surely impossible to train because he had immense talent in him. The pitch was in terrible shape but this guy was running. at full speed and the ball seemed to be tied to his left foot by a piece of string. Impossible to take him. Over the 90 minutes, I plugged him in two or three times trying to intimidate him but it was impossible. talked to me the whole game, he was chatting like he was going for a walk “- Terry Fenwick, England defender

“Every time I see him again, I find it hard to believe I realized this. It was amazing. I wanted to have photos of the action enlarged and put up above my bed, next to the pictures of Dalma, my only daughter at the time, with these words: ‘The most beautiful things of my life’. That’s all “- Diego Maradona

“For the first time in my career, I wanted to applaud an opposing goal” – Gary Lineker, English striker

“It was a fantastic goal. Goals like that you see in games for kids at the park, but Maradona did that in the quarter-finals of the World Cup” – Sir Bobby Robson, English striker

El Diez mourned by his peers

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El Diez mourned by his peers

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