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Gary Lineker admits Diego Maradona was a ‘mixed mess’

Gary Lineker admits Diego Maradona was a ‘mixed mess’ but praises the late Argentine star as ‘a lovely guy’ after spending time with him … and reveals he wanted CLAP after his infamous hand of god in the Cup 1986 World

  • Argentine legend died at age 60 of heart failure on November 25
  • Lineker said he respected the soccer icon despite his ‘hand of God’ goal
  • Former England star Lineker went so far as to say he wanted to applaud the boldness
  • The two met on and off the soccer field and struck up a flourishing friendship.


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Gary Lineker admits that Diego Maradona was a disaster, but praised the late Argentine as ‘smart’ and ‘a lovely guy’ after his passing.

The Argentine soccer legend died at the age of 60 of cardiac arrest on November 25 last year after a life of partying and cocaine.

However, Lineker said he respected the football legend despite his ‘hand of God’ goal against England at the 1986 World Cup.

Gary Lineker has opened up about his relationship with the late soccer icon Diego Maradona

Gary Lineker has opened up about his relationship with the late soccer icon Diego Maradona

Talking with him guardian, Lineker said: ‘Peter Shilton will never ever forgive Maradona and I understand that.

‘There is handball and before the second there is a foul in [Glenn] Hoddle. I hadn’t realized it until we saw it again for a documentary and it was all: Oh. Me. God.’

‘So both goals should not be valid, I scored the winner, we won the World Cup! Only two players in my life could score that: Messi and Maradona.

Clapping crossed my mind. I can’t, obviously, and I’m heartbroken and screwed up, but that was too good, man.

They would have killed me, they would have given me the Beckham effigies – I didn’t applaud, but I thought, ‘That’s just unbelievable.

‘Diego was a confusing mess, but what a lovely boy. I spent time with him and he’s crazy. Everywhere there is chaos and you think: how can you stay sane? I thought: thank goodness I wasn’t that good, which sounds weird and maybe I would have handled it, but I don’t know.

Former pro-turned-expert Lineker says Maradona was a 'mixed mess' in life

Former pro-turned-expert Lineker says Maradona was a 'mixed mess' in life

Former pro-turned-expert Lineker says Maradona was a ‘mixed mess’ in life

The two met on and off the soccer field and struck up a flourishing friendship.

The two met on and off the soccer field and struck up a flourishing friendship.

The two met on and off the soccer field and struck up a flourishing friendship.

Diego got into drugs, that mafia world, but he was a great company: funny, smart, you can’t be a great footballer without being smart.

“I did the World Cup draw on television with him once. It was a complicated draw, a lot of information and we passed it without errors.

‘At the end I said something like,’ You have always been good with your hands’ and he jokes about hitting the ball.

He gave me a big hug and said, ‘You were a good footballer, but if you were as good at football as this, you could, you could have been as good as me.’

Maradona died at the age of 60 of heart failure on November 25 last year, having suffered a fatal heart attack following major brain surgery.

The soccer icon underwent surgery to remove a blood clot in his brain. However, the stresses on his fragile body saw him die in his 60s.

The Argentine legend was widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, but he struggled with his life outside of the game. He was involved in drugs, suffered from obesity, fraternized with various women and was involved with the mob.

Maradona had become addicted to cocaine, after trying the drug in Barcelona in 1983.

He also had the services of the Camorra, a notorious mob group, who offered him protection in Naples, considered one of the most dangerous cities in Europe at the time.

This relationship with the mob saw him indulging in his party habits, taking hard drugs, and enjoying the company of other women besides his wife, reportedly having multiple affairs.

However, Lineker believes it was his soccer ability that defined him, not his lifestyle outside of sport.

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