"The hand of God, and now returned to the arms of God."
Argentine football player Diego Maradona, regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time, is no more. Maradona passed away to a cardiac arrest at his home at the age of 60 just two weeks after leaving the hospital where he underwent brain surgery.
While the Internet mourned the demise of the celebrated footballer with photos, videos and anecdotes of the dribbling legend, it was the iconic memory of 1986 World Cup and Maradona that was brought to life by many to bid farewell to the hero.
Maradona, who scored plenty of genius goals in his illustrious career, was perhaps best remembered for the in(famous) goal that came against England on June 22, 1986, World Cup quarterfinal clash in Mexico where he scored the "Hand of God" goal using his fist.
Four minutes later, Maradona ran more than half the length of the field, beat six England players and scored the "Goal of the Century". It was also the match-winner.
But it was the "Hand of God" goal that has remained etched in the memories of fans and critics alike.
In fact, he himself came up with the phrase "Hand of God" at the post-match press conference.
"At first, I kept saying that I had headed it in. I don't know, I was scared that since I was still in the stadium, they might disallow the goal. What did I know?"
"In passing I said to someone, 'It was Maradona's head and God's hand'."
Upon hearing the news of his departure, Maradona fans reminisced the goal with artwork and heartfelt tributes.
RIP Legend Maradona. I learnt about you & 'The Hand of God' from dad when I started to watch FIFA Worldcup football in 2010. And not to forget how you lead Argentina team so close for FIFA 2014 to runners-up & MESSI is the best player 😍 pic.twitter.com/tU4OT0Xd3r— Sizuka BB (@sweetgal529) November 26, 2020
Diego Maradona with former Tunisian referee Ali Bennaceur, who awarded him the 1986 “Hand of god” goal. May he rest in peace #RipMaradona pic.twitter.com/3qS1c8KuHc— Äya 🇹🇳 (@Omgayamanel) November 25, 2020
In 1986 my father and I traveled to Mexico for the World Cup where we witnessed one the greatest of all time - Diego Maradona at the peak of his power. I was awed and infatuated. #rip Now he and God can discuss that "goal" vs England- Head of Maradona- #HandofGod pic.twitter.com/PvClHnA0yZ— Craig Savage (@XsavageX) November 25, 2020
Finally #HandofGodRIP #MaradonaYou were and are our hero of hope and inspiration.You will be remembered for ever! pic.twitter.com/QzuWxp4tuv— Harishchandra Sukhdeve🌎🌍🌏 (@AskAmbedkar) November 26, 2020
"Of course, it was not the Hand of God. It was me. I am not sorry for scoring with my hand. Not sorry at all! For me, it was like stealing from a thief," Maradona said.
(With AFP inputs)