Fifa throws out controversial soccer legend Maradona
ZURICH–Federation of International Football Associations (Fifa) has withdrawn ambassadorial credentials from Argentine football legend Diego Maradona for his “embarrassing and provocative behaviour.”
The football icon was at his emotional best as Argentina battled for its lifeline at Russia 2018 Fifa World Cup at St Petersburgh yesterday, treating the stadium to a roller-coaster cocktail of emotions.
Not that the world would have expected less from the soccer-mad 1986 World Cup winner and former Argentina national team coach, but for his flashing of the middle finger and throwing expletives at fans below the director’s box when Argentina scored the winner, Fifa has decided to rein in the legend.
During the match, Maradona unfurled a giant banner of himself, prayed when Leo Messi put Argentina ahead in the first half before seeming to fall asleep. He also appeared to cry with the score at 1-1 and had to be restrained by his guards when Marcos Rojo scored the late winner.
BREAKING: Diego Maradona will no longer be a paid FIFA ambassador after his "embarrassing and provocotive behaviour" during #NGAARG last night. The former Argentina great was being paid £10,000 by the governing body for "bringing the spotlight" to any #WorldCup match he was at. pic.twitter.com/DglUUfmrCA
— beIN SOCCER (@belNSOCCER) June 27, 2018
His doctor has apparently advised him to not watch the second half of the tense match, but he defied the medical advice.
The 57-year-old, who captained Argentina to World Cup victory in 1986, said after the match that his “neck hurt a lot”.
Maradona posted a picture on social media showing medical staff with him at half-time of the 2-1 victory, but denied he had been taken to hospital.
“I want to tell everyone that I am fine,” his Instagram post read.
It’s exhausting being Maradona. pic.twitter.com/5n3xp8lUx5
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) June 26, 2018
“I was checked by a doctor and he recommended me to go home before the second half, but I wanted to stay because we were risking it all. How could I leave?”
Argentina’s victory meant they reached the last 16, where they will face France on Saturday.
But Maradona will now have to foot his own expenses, including match tickets after Fifa withdrew his credentials.
The Argentina great was being paid £10,000 by the governing body for “bringing the spotlight” to any #WorldCup match he was at.
Maradona played 91 times for Argentina, scoring 34 goals, and later managed the national side.