Argentinean legend Diego Maradona had to be taken to the paramedics in Russia after watching his former team secure a thrilling win over Nigeria at the FIFA World Cup 2018.
Argentina, which features soccer superstar Lionel Messi, was all but out of the competition and needed the win to secure their position in the in last 16 of the world cup.
Messi’s goal gave Argentina the lead in the early minutes of the first half. However, that lead was canceled out by Nigeria.
Maradona, who appeared to have fallen asleep at one point in the match, probably resigned to the looming elimination of his nation’s side, was overjoyed when Marcos Rojo scored a late winner, sending the 2014 finalists through to the next round. So much so, he flipped his fingers at the crowd.
Maradona had something to say about Argentina's win: pic.twitter.com/JMH14db7JG— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 26, 2018
However, the celebration did not come without a scare.
Video posted on social media, showed a feeble Maradona, requiring help to walk back to the luxury box. Football lovers around the globe worried for his health. But, later the superstar footballer comforted fans via an Instagram post, assuring he was doing well.
"I want to tell everyone that I am fine, that I am not, neither was I interned," the message read. "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, sorry for the shock and thanks for the endurance, there Diego for a while!”
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!
While Maradona is doing alright, his antics at the game have not been appreciated by fans of the beautiful game. This was the second time, someone flipped fingers at this year’s world cup; at the opening ceremony, singer Robbie Williams did the same.
Former England Player Gary Lineker thought Maradona had gone too far with his celebration.
"Diego Maradona perhaps let himself down with his celebration," he said. "You understand how he's euphoric, that's for sure, but this kind of reaction, really Diego?"
But, Maradona is no stranger to controversy. He once shot at journalists with an air rifle and has fought an elongated battle with cocaine and alcohol addictions.
Argentina finished second in their group and will face France in the round of 16.
Thumbnail/ Banner Credits: REUTERS/Sergio Perez