It was 36 years ago on June 22, 1986 that Diego Maradona made himself public enemy number one with his antics.
During England’s World Cup quarterfinal encounter against Argentina in 1986, the little attacker rose the tallest and knocked the ball past Peter Shilton with his hand. The goal was given and Argentina went on to win the game 2-0. It’s a moment that has etched itself in World Cup folklore.
It’s safe to say that Maradona became unpalatable for some Brits for the shenanigans on that day But he’s not the only player to get away with being a cheat. Here we look at some footballers who have broken the rules by using their hands – and ended up getting away with it.
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Luis Fabiano against Ivory Coast – 2010
Luis Fabiano proclaimed his handball goal against Ivory Coast as ‘one of the most beautiful' in his career.
Brazil beat the African side 3-1 in the 2010 World Cup group stage and secured their progression to the knockout stages.
Fabiano scored a brace but it was his second goal five minutes after half-time that caused controversy, The striker appeared to twice control the ball with his arm before smashing the ball past Boubacar Barry, handing the Brazilians a two-goal lead.
"Well that is true, it seems as though the ball hit my hand," admitted Fabiano. "It seems the ball hit my hand and the second time it hit my shoulder.
Do you think these players should come and apologise? Let us know in the comments section.
Raul against Leeds United – 2001
Leeds fans were furious after losing 3-2 to Real Madrid in the Champions League. They fought bravely but were undone by Raul’s cheeky handball that gave the La Liga giants the edge. But teams progressed to the knockout stages of the competition, but the Whites were pulling their hair out at the shoddy referring that handed their opposition three points.
Leeds' official match report still reads online to this day: “A calamitous boob by apologetic referee Ryszard Wojcik had a major hand in United's 3-2 Champions League defeat by Real Madrid, leaving manager David O'Leary in a philosophical mood.
"The Polish official trooped into the Leeds dressing room after the final whistle to hold his hands up to his first-half blunder that allowed the current European champions to equalise just a minute after Alan smith had put Leeds ahead as early as the sixth minute. Raul's blatant handball was evident to all in the Bernabeu except the one man who counted.”
Lionel Messi against Espanyol – 2007
There is a goal of chilling similarity to Maradona’s superb run and finish against England that Lionel Messi did against Getafe when he was 19 – and if that wasn’t uncanny enough, the former Barcelona ace also netted a handball goal against Espanyol that was eerily similar to the Hand of God goal.
In the La Liga contest in 2007, the Catalans were behind by a goal but then, in the 43rd minute, Messi was there to latch onto a cross that was deflected skywards and punch the ball in.
Thierry Henry against Ireland – 2010
Theirry Henry looked to handle the ball twice and even looked in an offside position at the time free-kick was played that led to this decisive goal. It was William Gallas who got on the scoresheet in extra-time in the 2-1 aggregate win that saw Ireland’s hopes of a World Cup place in 2010 dashed.
Though Henry did not score himself, we have added this in given the huge controversy that followed his illegal assist.
"It was ridiculous really and unfortunately it's what we thought was going to happen," said the Ireland defender Richard Dunne raged after the game. "The World Cup is run by people who want to decide who gets there. Big teams get big decisions. The referee says he was 100% certain that Henry didn't handball it but Henry said [to me] that he did."
Diego Maradona against England – 1986
It’s worth mentioning again. The most famous example of foul play and a moment that defined a player in his entirely. With the game at 0-0, the ball flung to Shilton’s box. The shot-stopper rushed out to try and claim it, but the striker lept with him, beating the goalkeeper's outstretched hand and using his own to punch the ball into the net. The referee did not notice and the goal was given.
In the same game, Maradona scored another to give Argentina a second and ultimately win the game 2-1, in what has been called the ‘Goal of the Century.’ The knockout game is a microcosm of Maradona’s career, as a goal laced with controversy in conjunction with a thing of beauty.
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