Diego Maradona had greatness but lacked sportsmanship, says England’s Peter Shilton

Alex Young
·2-min read
 (Bongarts/Getty Images)
(Bongarts/Getty Images)

Diego Maradona was a great player but lacked sportsmanship after refusing to apologise for the infamous ‘Hand of God’, former England goalkeeper Peter Shilton has said.

The Argentine legend died on Wednesday after suffering a heart attack at his Buenos Aires home, 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."

Additional reporting by Press Association.

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