A video that has surfaced on the Internet shows the 57-year-old Argentine Diego Maradona struggling to leave the stands after celebrating Argentina’s 2-1 win against Nigeria last night.
Just minutes after the final whistle, the football legend’s emotional celebrations got the better of him; he was barely able to stand after the match and had to be assisted by the staff and friends into the enclosure.
Reports claiming he was taken to a hospital surfaced all over media, but Maradona announced through his social media account that this wasn’t true, and that he is doing well. He took to Instagram to inform his fans that there was nothing to worry about, as he experienced temporary neck pain after the second half but is fine now.
“I want to tell everyone that I am fine, that I am not [ill], neither was I [admitted to hospital],” Maradona wrote.
He continued, “At half-time of the game against Nigeria, my neck hurt a lot… 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? I send a kiss to everyone, thanks for the support!”
Medical concerns aren’t the only reason the Argentine hero made it to the headlines; he was caught flipping off the Nigerian fans while celebrating the winner by Marcus Rojo in the 86th minute. BBC’s Rio Ferdinand and Gary Lineker criticized Maradona for his behavior.
Former England and Manchester United man, Rio Ferdinand, said, “His career as a football player on the pitch was up there with the best, but unfortunately there are moments like this that do arrive. It is not nice to see that.”
Presenter Gary Lineker thought Maradona had let himself down by the celebration; “Maradona is in danger of becoming a laughing stock, I’m afraid.”
Football fans all around the world reacted differently to the 1986 World Cup winner, some described it as raw emotions whereas some criticized him for his irresponsible behavior.
DIEGO MARADONA REALLY OUT HERE FLIPPING PEOPLE OFF RN 💀 pic.twitter.com/ojlWondck3
— Efraín (@EfrainGonzo15) June 26, 2018
Thank you Argentina for making it easy to hate you. Massive time wasting by Messi, Maradona flipping off the Nigerians, Argentia staff kicking a ball onto the field to delay the game. Way to advance in the trashiest way possible, congratulations!
— Etienne Sallade (@atmsalad) June 26, 2018
— Jamey Osborne (@jameyo) June 26, 2018
You’ve insulted,cursed, wished players death over this football but somehow, Maradona flipping you the bird pisses you off
— 😈 (@KiransIV) June 27, 2018