“Diego Maradona was the most talented footballers of the 1980s. He also proved himself a liar, a cheat and an egomaniac”, the Daily Telegraph’s obituary opened following the tragic passing of the Argentinian legend.
His death dominated the front pages of the British press this morning as the sporting world mourned the loss of one of its most treasured assets. Much of it was positive and rightly centred around his gifted and natural on-field flare, but not everyone could resist sticking the boot in one final time as bitter memories of the 1986 World Cup resurfaced.
Writing in the Daily Mail Peter Shilton said “he had greatness in him but sadly no sportsmanship”, adding, without a hint of irony, that he hopes his ill-gotten goal against England “doesn’t taint” his legacy.
As one person said in response, “nothing says being a good sport like “slagging someone off in the press within hours of their death”, yet it was remarkable how few people could resit doing so.
The Daily Star, The Mirror , The Metro, The Sun and The Express all made some reference to it on their front pages.
Of course, Maradona scored two goals in that game; the Hand of God and the Goal of the Century, although the latter scarcely got a mention.
Nor did any of this:
All this in one World Cup pic.twitter.com/9fvmp7ZiZz— Evan Fanning (@evanfanning) November 25, 2020
Instead it was the Falklands that was trending on social media in the UK, with one person tweeting “Maradona’s dead and the Falklands are still British, what a day”.
It’s true that the cesspit of social media knows no bounds, but this wasn’t just some random tweet plucked from the depths of the right-wing abyss. It was a viral tweet that had been liked, shared, empathised with by so many.
It underscored an attitude that has blighted Briton for so long now. That even in death we cannot see past our dim-witted and outmoded notion of superiority and supremacy.
In the end one can only hope that the genius of Maradona shines through, and it will be clips like this from Gary Lineker that will help drown out the noise.
“He had such an incredible passion for the game.”— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) November 25, 2020
“I’ve never seen anyone have such a beautiful affection with a football.”
A heartfelt tribute from @GaryLineker to the one and only Diego Maradona…
And a lovely story that sums up his genius ❤️ pic.twitter.com/ztAhYyNFIs
Or one from our own Maradona, who hasn’t been without his troubles over the years, shutting down a keeper who in the midst of a global outpouring of support seems to have forgotten his senses.
Don’t click on that Shilton piece in the Daily Mail. Instead look at this picture from this morning and his face upon Gazza telling him ‘that goal made you anyway’ pic.twitter.com/jZloDVrqzE— Matthew Fogg (@MatthewLiamFogg) November 26, 2020