Diego Maradona taken to hospital after Argentina vs Nigeria World Cup match
At St Petersburg Stadium, Argentina took on Nigeria in a dramatic World Cup match. But arguably, the most entertaining moments were not on the field, but in the stands. 57-year-old Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona was spotted in the crowd, living his best life.
Maradona reacted to the game with wild emotion, yelling, dancing with a random woman and even waving a banner with his own face on it. (What, you don't have one of those?) His ridiculous behavior spawned a ton of memes on Twitter. Soccer hooligans all over the world saw a little bit of themselves in Maradona. Also, they appreciated that his friends helped "hold his gut."
When Argentina's Marcos Rojo scored the winning goal, Maradona celebrated by throwing up two middle fingers at the Nigerian fans. Because there's no better way to express joy! BBC sports presenter Dan Walker snarked, on Twitter, "And that’s why you don’t show Maradona no matter how good he was in his prime." But hey, you can't blame the guy for being emotional. After a rocky start, the Argentinan team is moving on to the next round.
Viewers loved Maradona's outrageous antics, but the hoity-toity announcers thought he looked foolish. Commentator 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." Commentator Gary Lineker added, "Maradona's in danger of becoming a laughing stock, I'm afraid." (Maybe they're just jealous he was more entertaining.)
During the game, Maradona had boundless energy, but apparently he celebrated too hard. ESPN's Diego Cora reported that after the final whistle, Maradona was taken to a local hospital in St. Petersburg. The 1986 World Cup winner was quickly treated by Russian parademics.
This Twitter user shared footage of the exhausted ex-footballer being carried to his seat.
An Argentinian source told The Independent that Maradona's condition is stabilized. So, hopefully we'll see him manically celebrating at Argentina's match! (But not so much that he endangers his health.)
Maradona is considered one of the greatest soccer players time, and has played in four World Cups. In 1986, he helped Argentina defeat England by scoring the "Hand Of God" goal, one of the most famous (and controversial) goals in soccer history. Somehow, he got away with scoring a goal using his fist. CNN describes the iconic moment as follows:
"The infamous "Hand of God," as the perpetrator dubbed it immediately after the match with a certain cheekiness -- rather than blasphemy -- almost like a child blaming his brother for stealing the sweets. "It must have been the hand of God," Maradona chuckled when asked by the media about it.
"It was a moment that stunned the world. A tiny man outsmarts the tall goalkeeper -- Peter Shilton -- by jumping high in the air with his arm stretched up, closed fist, and simply punches the ball into the net."
Well, today we didn't see the Hand of God, but we did see the Two Middle Fingers Of God. Take it easy, Diego.