Friday 24 February 2017

The wonderful World Cup of Diego Maradona

"What an arsehole you are, how can you put your leg there where it can get run over." -- After driving over a photographer's foot en route to a press conference.

"If we win the World Cup I'll get naked and run around the Obelisk." -- a brave promise.

"I say this: the player who scores our winning goal in the final is free to enter me from behind ." -- Carlos Bilardo, Argentina's general manager, goes even further than Diego.

"I would tell Pele to go back to the museum. I'm not surprised by what Platini said. I always had a distant relationship with him. We all know what the French are like and Platini is French." -- On hearing, second-hand, about some criticisms from two of the legends of the game.

"No. I like women. I'm dating Veronica. She is 31, she is blonde, she is very pretty. Don't start rumours about me. I may have my weaknesses towards some of my players, but that's normal." -- When asked about the enthusiastic way he hugged and kissed each of his players as they took the field against South Korea.

"Michel Platini has sent me this letter in which he makes clear that he didn't say what you guys (the press) told me he had said about me. That's why I want to apologise if I offended Michel Platini. But I don't want to apologise to Pele." -- Just a half U-turn, then.

"What's tragic-comic is the referee's smile afterwards. When I scored the (Hand of God) goal against England, I didn't see the referee laugh. He had so many doubts. But yesterday the referee went back to the centre circle laughing." -- On Luis Fabiano's controversial second goal in Brazil's 3-1 defeat of the Ivory Coast.

"I think he is a guy to keep on your bedside table and ask him each time you need something. I've got his number so I might call him."-- We hope he means Jose Mourinho's phone-number, not the actual 'Special One' in person.

"Who says Demichelis is playing badly? Whoever says that must be Andrea Bocelli!" -- Comparing one critic to the blind opera singer.

"In the end it is about whether God wants us to be in the final, but I know that is what God wants. This time we will not need the Hand of God, because it is the will of God." -- Before their quarter-final against Germany.

"I am as sad as anyone, but I want to thank the whole Argentina team.I want them to continue debunking the myths that millionaire footballers don't care. This is the hardest thing I have had to go through since the day I retired from football. It was like a smack in the face from Muhammad Ali." -- On misjudging God's will and losing 4-0.

Irish Independent

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