Gary Lineker brands Diego Maradona a ‘laughing stock’ after middle finger celebration

Jack Watson
The Independent
World Cup 2018: Gary Lineker brands Diego Maradona a ‘laughing stock’ after middle finger celebration
World Cup 2018: Gary Lineker brands Diego Maradona a ‘laughing stock’ after middle finger celebration

Gary Lineker has called Diego Maradona a "laughing stock" after the Argentina legend was shown on television raising two middle fingers as he celebrated Marcos Rojo's winning goal that sealed qualification.

This is not the first time that Maradona's has caused controversy at this World Cup. He was accused of making 'clearly racist gestures' at young South Korean fans when Argentina played Iceland.

READ MORE: Argentina saved by Rojo as they set up France clash

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With the score 1-1, Argentina were crashing out after Victor Moses cancelled out Lionel Messi's early goal, but Rojo scored late to seal the two times World Cup winners' progress to the round of 16.

Gary Lineker calls Diego Maradona a 'laughing stock' after middle-finger gesture 
Gary Lineker calls Diego Maradona a 'laughing stock' after middle-finger gesture 

After Rojo scored, the host broadcasters showed footage of Maradona leaning over his balcony at the St Petersburg Stadium raising two middle fingers.

"There's Diego Maradona celebrating," said Lineker. "I think he might make the papers for a different kind of celebration, there's a danger he's becoming a laughing stock I'm afraid."

"[He's] let himself down with that celebration," added the BBC presenter. "You understand how he's euphoric, but this kind of reaction... Really, Diego?"

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Former England and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand was also less impressed with Maradona's antics. "His career as a football player on the pitch was up there with the best," said Ferdinand.

"Unfortunately there are moments like this that do arise it's not nice to see that let him down."

A video also posted online appearing to show the former Barcelona and Napoli forward having to be helped to his seat at half-time was later shared on social media.

Argentina face France in the round of 16 on Saturday after securing last-ditch qualification from Group D.

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