“The ball goes to Maradona. Maradona can play for Enrique. Always Maradona. He dribbles, he goes, he goes between three. Always Diego. Great, great, great!”, relates Víctor Hugo Morales while the heroic play from the left of the ’10’ moving in the direction of the opposite goal, drawing a diagonal from left to the middle. With the experience and unique sense to read a game like no one else, the legendary Uruguayan journalist sensed, seconds before, that Diego Armando Maradona He was about to immortalize that June 22, 1986 -exactly 36 years ago- a goal that would make him the most loved “villain” by all.
“The goal was with the hand. I shout it from the bottom of my heart, but I have to tell you what I think. I only hope that they tell me from Buenos Aires, if they are watching the match on television right now, if Maradona’s goal was valid, although the referee saw it. Argentina is winning 1-0 and may God forgive me what I am going to say: against England, today, even so, with a goal with the hand. What can I say?”.
Four minutes later, with the English no longer claiming anything, Diego Armando scored the “Goal of the Century”. A work of art that took him out of “cheaters’ hell” to place him in paradise. It was ‘D10s’, even for the same players who moments before were desperately asking the Tunisian referee Ali Ben Nasser to annul the “goal with the hand”.
“He cheated. He is a cheater, I will never respect him as an athlete.”Said as many times as Peter Shilton could, the English goalkeeper from whom Maradona took the ball with his hand… the “Hand of God”. “I didn’t see the goal with my hand, it was far from the play. But the second was the most wonderful goal I’ve ever seen. They really wanted to applaud him.”confessed Gary Lineker, one of the greatest scorers who was born in England. “I will never forgive him. That goal with the hand was something rare. Later, In the anti-doping control I ran into him and I made signs to him if he had converted it with my hand and he made me a yes gesture. Better that he recognize him because if not, he would have killed him”said Terry Butcher. Opinions were divided.
The match ended 2-1 in favor. Although it is in football, Argentina had taken revenge for the Malvinas War with Diego Armando Maradona like hero. But the doubt about whether he went with his head or with his hand was left in the air at that moment. Or rather, everyone was waiting for the word from ’10’.
And he confessed… But not after the game.
There is no visual record of the impromptu press conference in the Azteca tunnel, but what they say is far from what Maradona says in his authorized autobiography “I am Diego.” “Sometimes I feel like I liked the one with the hand better, the first one. Now I can tell what at that time I couldn’t, what at that time I defined as ‘The hand of God’… What a hand of God, it was Diego’s hand! And it was like stealing the wallet from the English, too”reads on page 137 of the book written by Daniel Arcuchi and Enersto Cherquis Bialo.
“Checho’s asshole tells me: ‘but you did it with your hand’. ‘Shut your mouth idiot and hug me, shut your mouth and hug me!’. And then everyone started hugging me. Valdano tells me: ‘don’t tell me he went with his hand, you have to tell me’. And I say, ‘later I’ll tell you Valdano, stop bloating your balls!’”told Diego himself about the moment.
How was the name of the goal born?
With that innate creativity to draw memorable plays with his feet and launch historical phrases with his mouthDiego Armando Maradona immortalized his goal as the ‘Hand of God’. But, was it really from the mouth of ‘Fluff’ himself that the name came out? The Argentine journalist and writer, Andrés Burgo, author of the book “El Partido”, where he tells the story of that Argentina 2 – England 1, told in an interview for El Comercio the following:
“Nobody is clear. Maradona says that the phrase is his, but there is no record of it, it only appeared in a box in a newspaper the next day. One of the witnesses remembers that, at the end of the game, Diego is asked about the goal with his hand and he says that he did it with his head, that it was the goalkeeper; he gives a series of excuses so that he does not make a mess. And an Argentine journalist from the ANSA agency, Héctor Ferrero, tells him: ‘Come on, Diego, it was clear that he went with his hand.’ ‘No, he went with his head,’ Diego replies. The journalist insists: ‘It must have been the hand of God’ and Maradona replies: ‘It must have been’. I have no idea what the truth is, but these are the versions”.
According to a report in the Argentine newspaper “La Nación”, it is explained that in the editions of the newspapers the following day this statement by Maradona is not included, therefore, it is doubted that he really said it. “Only Crónica publishes it, and it does so in a very small box, on the back cover of the sports supplement. Nevertheless, If that phrase made him famous, it was because of the Mexican newspapers”.
19 years passed so that in August 2005 diego maradonto publicly acknowledge that, in effect, the goal was scored with the hand, although from the photos and videos, it was known since that June 22, 1986.
the goal that “It was like stealing the wallet from the English”, turns 36. She has inspired books, songs have been written. He has deserved a thousand comparisons and thousands of others have wanted to repeat it, but The Hand of God is Diego Maradona’s goal.