Apologies for the 'Hand of Fraud'

Almost twenty-two years earlier football fans witnessed something that found its place in the history of football. Two goals - one famous another infamous - by the Argentine Diego Maradona. While the former was later termed as "Goal of the Century", it was the latter that attracted criticism from fans all around the world.

It was England vs Argentina in the World Cup Quarter Finals, when after six minutes into the second half Maradona scored the first goal for Argentina using the outside of his left fist to push the ball into the net beating the goalkeeper Paul Shilton. The refree and the linesman didn't seem to take notice and took it as Maradona heading the ball, thus, awarding it to Argentina.

Maradona, the man who coined one of the most famous quotes in sport at the post match press conference "un poco con la cabeza de Maradona y otro poco con la mano de Dios" (a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of Gods) has finally issued an apology for the same.

"If I could apologise and go back and change history I would do. But the goal is still a goal, Argentina became world champions and I was the best player in the world. I cannot change history. All I can do now is move on." The apology came during an interview for The Sun.

Maradona has never before apologised for the strike which helped Argentina go on to win the tournament. In fact he stood by what he did when he said "The truth is that I don't for a second regret scoring that goal with my hand," he said on his TV show La Noche del Diez (Number Ten Night).

However, he did admit that the ball came off his hand in his autobiography Yo soy el Diego :
Now I feel I am able to say what I couldn't then. At the time I called it "the hand of God." What hand of God? It was the hand of Diego! And it felt a little bit like pickpocketing the English.

And now when Maradona has issued an apology for the deed, English goalkeeper Shilton is still fuming. Talking to The Sun he said, "He's had so many chances to do it over the years it actually feels hollow now. The guy should have said sorry straight after the game - that's what a truly great player like Pele would have done. It'll stay with me for ever."

Talking about his team's chances of winning the game he said, "The first goal in that game was always going to be so important. It gave the Argentineans a psychological edge and we all knew we'd gone behind to a handball - it cast doubt in our minds. If it had gone into extra time, who knows what would have happened."

Well, as Maradona said, "I cannot change history", so can't we. It stays as is, somewhere in a dark corner, in the football history book.

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