Diego Maradona was caught celebrating Argentina’s late winner against Nigeria at the World Cup with an offensive gesture on Tuesday.
As television cameras swung his way, seconds after Marcos Rojo’s winning goal, Maradona thrust middle-finger gestures with both hands. Swinging his arms back and forth, he also appeared to shout out before the cameras turned away.
The 57-year-old drove Argentina to <World Cup glory at Mexico ’86, and played at four World Cups in total.
At the 2018 Finals in Russia, Maradona has been a notable presence at all of Argentina’s matches, watching from the stands.
A video posted by Fernando Schwartz, a well-known sports journalist in Mexico, appeared to show Maradona needing assistance to walk from his seat overlooking the pitch and into an adjacent room.
A number of earlier reports had claimed Maradona had been taken to hospital – but the retired player quashed the rumours in an Instagram post several hours later.
Revealing he had suffered neck pain during half-time, Maradona said he had seen a doctor and was advised to go home before the end of the game but decided against it.
He said: “I want to tell everyone that I am fine.
“In the 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!”
The post was accompanied by a picture of the former footballing star with a medic.
Castellano | Italiano | Inglés Quiero contarles que estoy bien, que no estoy ni estuve internado. En el entretiempo del partido con Nigeria me dolía mucho la nuca y sufrí una descompensación. Me revisó un médico y me recomendó que me fuera a casa antes del segundo tiempo, pero yo quise quedarme porque nos estábamos jugando todo. ¿Cómo me iba a ir? Les mando un beso a todos, perdón por el susto y gracias por el aguante, hay Diego para rato! Voglio solo dirvi che sto bene, che non sono e non sono stato ricoverato. Durante l'intervallo della partita con la Nigeria ho avuto un forte dolore alla nuca e un mancamento. Un medico mi ha visitato e mi ha consigliato di tornare a casa prima del secondo tempo, ma ho deciso di rimanere perché ci stavamo giocando il tutto per tutto. Come sarei potuto andarmene? Un bacio a tutti e grazie per il supporto… Diego ci sarà ancora per un bel po'! I want to tell everyone that I am fine, that I am not, neither was I interned. In the halftime of the game against Nigeria, my neck hurt a lot and I suffered a decompensation. 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!
Following the game, Maradona had been pictured looking in far better health by Patricia Villegas, president of Latin American broadcaster teleSUR.
She reported Maradona had boarded a flight to Moscow, sharing a picture of him on what looked to be a luxury jet.
She wrote: “1:41 am Russia. About to (fly). Diego: Are you in hospital?”
1:41 am Rusia. A punto de ✈️. Diego: estás hospitalizado? pic.twitter.com/xfktQFUSk0
— Patricia Villegas (@pvillegas_tlSUR) June 26, 2018