‘He was the greatest player who touched this planet’: Glenn Hoddle makes touching tribute to the late Diego Maradona… describing him as a ‘rascal’ and a ‘genius’ for the 1986 World Cup quarterfinal display between Argentina and England
- Glenn Hoddle paid tribute to Diego Maradona who died after a cardiac arrest
- The Argentine suffered a cardiac arrest with his death announced on Wednesday
- Hoddle recalled Maradona’s infamous 1986 World Cup match against England
- The Englishman also played alongside Maradona in an exhibition game for Spurs
Glenn Hoddle has described the late Diego Maradona as ‘the greatest player who touched the planet’ and claimed the Argentinian forward was born with a ball at his feet.
It was announced on Wednesday that Maradona passed away at the age of 60 after suffering a cardiac arrest just two weeks after surgery for a clot on his brain.
Arguably the Argentinian’s most iconic game was his the World Cup quarter-final against England in 1986, where Maradona followed the ‘Hand of God’ goal with a superb solo effort against the Three Lions in Mexico.
Glenn Hoddle (above) paid an emotional tribute to the late Diego Maradona who died this week
Maradona eliminated Hoddle’s England with Argentina and the ‘Hand of God’ goal back in 1986
Hoddle was on the pitch that day and recalled his emotions after seeing Maradona go from a ‘rascal’ to a ‘genius’.
The former Chelsea and Tottenham player told BT Sport on Thursday: ‘I remember hitting the ball with his arm, with his hand, and then flicking his head. It was very sneaky with what he did there.
‘The referee didn’t spot it, I was trying to catch the referee, not all the players have sold it.
Maradona then scored Argentina’s second with a superb solo effort at the match in Mexico
Hoddle (right) played alongside Maradona (left) that day and called him a ‘rascal’ and a ‘genius’
‘It was the rascal in him that did that. Then the second goal was out of this world. In many ways that summed up Diego. The first the with the rascal and then the genius with that goal.
‘The pitch was awful, the long grass, the rutty turf at the bottom. To score that goal and keep it under that control was genius. He was the greatest player that touched this planet.’
As well as being Maradona’s opponent during his playing days, Hoddle even played on the same team as the Argentinian great during Tottenham legend Ossie Ardiles’ testimonial in 1986.
Hoddle played with Maradona (right) for Tottenham in Ossie Ardiles’ (left) 1986 testimonial
For one night only, Spurs’ midfield lined up as Hoddle, Chris Waddle, Ardiles and Maradona, who had taken time out of his 1986 World Cup preparations to play in the exhibition match.
Hoddle claimed he and Maradona had a special connection on the pitch that day and it was one of the more memorable evenings in his career.
Hoddle added: ‘That night at White Hart Lane for Ossie’s testimonial, it was fabulous to play with him. As soon as we got on the pitch, we just gelled. It was an incredible evening and I loved every minute of it.
‘It was a sad loss for football. The wonderful genius of the player, what he did with the football, it was like the ball was born with him – there was one attached to his foot.
Hoddle himself suffered a cardiac arrest similar to Maradona’s in 2018 while on punditry duty
The Englishman also sent his condolences to Maradona’s fans and family after his death after a heart attack. Hoddle himself suffered a cardiac arrest in 2018 while preparing for BT Sport duty but pulled through and is still a pundit today.
Hoddle said: ‘It was a cardiac arrest, which is what I went through two years ago. He didn’t have Simon Daniels there to help him because the cardiac arrest, you have a short period of time to get the aid that you need.
‘I’m a very very lucky man and hope his family and everyone mourning him in Argentina at the moment, my thoughts are with everyone as I was close to going myself.’