Tributes have been paid to the Argentine genius but some bitterness remains amongst elements of the British media.
Diego Maradona passed away on Wednesday in his native Argentina. The World Cup-winning captain, who underwent brain surgery a few weeks ago, suffered cardiac arrest. He was 60.
Maradona is regarded by many as the greatest footballer in history.
His passing has been mourned in his native Argentina and adopted city of Naples, where he guided the previously unsuccessful Napoli to two Serie A titles in the in 1987 and 1990, at a time when Italian football was the pinnacle of the world soccer.
The reaction in Britain to Maradona’s passing.
Maradona’s passing, however, has been marked with a tinge of residual bitterness amongst elements of the tabloid media in Britain.
The former Napoli forward scored two of the most famous goals of all time against England in the quarter-finals of the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. Maradona outjumped Peter Shilton to score with his hand for the first goal – the infamous ‘Hand of God’ incident.
He then dribbled past almost every England player, including goalkeeper Shilton, to score Argentina’s second goal of the game.
Maradona subsequently led the South American nation to World Cup glory.
The ‘Hand of God’ goal.
It has been over 34 years since the ‘Hand of God’ goal, yet many of England’s most popular newspapers still appear incapable of letting it go. The infamous image of Maradona outjumping Shilton, who was much taller than his opponent, was splashed across many tabloid newspapers on Thursday morning.
The Daily Express have an image of the ‘flawed genius’ Maradona alongside an image of him lifting the World Cup in 1986 and out-jumping Shilton.
The Sun, meanwhile, define Maradona as ‘England’s World Cup nemesis’ alongside the famous image of him scoring with his hand against England.
The Mirror labelled Maradona as ‘a hero, a villain, a cheat and a genius’.
While, The Daily Star, opted for a baffling headline, asking where was VAR ‘when we needed it most’.
The British tabloid, to mark the death of one of football’s all-time greats, refer to a video referee system that wasn’t first used until 2018.
Meanwhile, The Daily Mail made no mention of Maradona’s passing on their front page.
Instead, they ran a column by Peter Shilton, who still can’t forgive Maradona for the ‘Hand of God’ goal. Even a day after Maradona’s passing, the former England goalkeeper seemingly still hasn’t questioned why he was outjumped by a player who was five foot five.
Elsewhere, the reaction was befitting of the status the Argentine genius held in global sport.
The Guardian captured the right tone with their back page.
Thursday's Guardian back page. pic.twitter.com/rdbr1zDAyg
— Guardian sport (@guardian_sport) November 26, 2020
As did French publication L’Equipe.
Voici la une du journal L'Équipe de ce jeudi 26 novembre pic.twitter.com/MVHFypDIIe
— L'ÉQUIPE (@lequipe) November 25, 2020
And La Gazzetta dello Sport in Italy.
Tomorrow’s cover of Gazzetta dello Sport.
— Raffaele (@ItalianoCalcio) November 26, 2020
In Maradona’s native Argentina, three days of mourning have been declared. His coffin is currently at the presidential palace in Buenos Aires for a period of lying in state.
Argentine football supporters were grief-stricken when news of Maradona’s passing was announced.
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