Argentina football legend Diego Maradona has been warned about his future conduct at this year’s FIFA World Cup following reports about him bringing the game into disrepute.
Maradona, who captained Argentina to the World Cup title in 1986 and is regarded in some quarters as the best footballer in history, has been the centre of attention at games involving Argentina with his conduct called into question.
During the game between Argentina and Nigeria, Maradona drew attention with his antics in the stands, lapping up adulation from fans, unveiling a poster of himself and falling asleep at one point.
Then, after Marcos Rojo’s 86th-minute winner secured Argentina’s place in the last 16, he made a middle-finger gesture with both hands.
According to Daily Mail, reacting to questions that the 57-year-old had made an obscene gesture at other spectators in the game against Nigeria, FIFA’s World Cup chief executive Colin Smith said that the former Argentine star was a valued part of its legends programme to promote the game.
“The players who helped write the history of football have a part to play,” Smith said. “Diego Maradona, obviously one of the greatest footballers who ever lived, is a part of that.”
But, saying FIFA was aware of incidents such as that during Argentina’s vital group game against Nigeria in Saint Petersburg, Smith added:
“We would expect all players, former players, staff, fans, everyone to behave in a respectful manner.”