Former goalkeeper Peter Shilton has less pleasant memories of the Argentinian as the protagonist in one of the highlights of Diego Maradona’s career. The Englishman calls Maradona a greatness, but regrets that he never apologized for the ‘hand of God’ goal.
‘I’m not going to lie: it still bothers me’
In the quarter-finals of the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, Shilton, who was the keeper of the England team at that time, was fooled by Maradona. The little Argentinian starts an aerial duel with the goalkeeper and eventually hits the ball into the goal with his hand. Partly because of that goal, known as the ‘hand of God’, Argentina wins 2-1 against England.
“I have been linked to that moment of Maradona all my life and not in the way I would have liked it to be,” writes the now 71-year-old Shilton in his column in the Daily Mail.
“But I got sad when I heard that he passed away so young. He is without a doubt one of the greatest players I have ever played against and with Pelé he is one of the absolute giants.”
Diego Maradona and Peter Shilton were both captain in the world famous quarter finals of the 1986 World Cup. (Photo: ANP)
Maradona’s legendary goal continues to bother Shilton. “He challenged me in the air. He knew that heading was not going to work, so he hit the ball with his hand. Just cheating. Maradona looked back twice and waited for his goal to be disallowed. He knew what he had done. That’s why Argentina won the game. “
“I’m not going to lie: it still bothers me,” Shilton continues. “What I find disappointing is that he never really apologized. He never said he cheated. He used the term ‘hand of God’ to his advantage, that’s not correct.”
Shilton cannot help but describe Maradona – despite his status – as unsportsmanlike. “On Wednesday I wanted to celebrate the 50th anniversary of my debut game for England, but it was another game that I was reminded of. I will never forget that game. Maradona was great, but he was not sporty.”