Comparisons with Lionel Messi are futile – Maradona belonged to a wild, violent game unrecognisable to modern players, as his new book shows
‘If it had been up to the Argentines, each of the players would have gone out there with a machine gun and killed Shilton, Stevens, Butcher, Fenwick, Sansom, Steven, Hodge, Reid, Hoddle, Beardsley and Lineker”. At first glance it seems fair to say Diego Maradona hasn’t really mellowed much. So begins one of the key chapters of his brilliant new – rehashed, repeated, elegantly toddled off – autobiography Touched By God, which is out in the UK next month.
Certainly, the proposed machine-gunning of England’s entire satin-shorted first XI makes for an arresting mental image. Otherwise Maradona is conciliatory, playful and entirely unapologetic on the subject of that 1986 World Cup quarter-final, staged four years after the Falklands War that saw the British army overwhelm a callow Argentinian invasion force, “sent out in Flecha tennis shoes” to fight the world’s third-biggest military power.