Diego Maradona came under a bit of fire on Saturday afternoon when he was alleged to have made a racist gesture.
The all-time footballing great was in Moscow to watch his national side’s 1-1 draw against Iceland – but stole some of the limelight when ITV commentator Jacqui Oatley suggested that he made a less than proper gesture towards some South Korean supporters in the stadium:
Maradona not so cool now. Some South Korea fans just shouted “Diego” and he obliged with a smile, kiss and wave. Then pulled his eyes to the side in a clearly racist gesture. All of us who saw it are stunned.
— Jacqui Oatley (@JacquiOatley) June 16, 2018
Maradona has since taken to his Facebook account to defend himself from the accusations, insisting that he was just responding to an Asian boy wearing an Argentina shirt – though, tellingly, he at no point denies making the gesture:
“I understand better than anyone who in world times people look for news everywhere, but let’s take it easy: today, in the stadium, among so many displays of affection from people, I got the attention of a group that was around A fan who was filming us, an Asian boy wearing an Argentine shirt. I, from afar, tried to tell them how cute I felt that even the Asians were going for us. And that’s it, boys, please.”
Maradona is in Russa working as a pundit for the finals for Italian television. The furore partly distracted from what was an abject Argentine performance that puts their hopes of qualifying for the last 16 in a bit of doubt.