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Nov 18, 2008

Argentina coach Maradona: It's unfair to judge me

Argentina coach Diego Maradona has hit out at criticism from Terry Butcher, claiming he cannot be judged for his 'Hand of God' goal as England won the World Cup "with a goal that didn't cross the line." • Aguero to miss Scotland game The Argentine legend also said he will not lose any sleep if the Scotland assistant does not shake his hand at the end of Wednesday's friendly at Hampden Park. Maradona's 'Hand of God' goal in the 1986 World Cup, which helped to send Sir Bobby Robson's side out at the quarter-final stage, continues to torment Butcher, who was in the England side that day in Mexico. Butcher said he would not shake Maradona's hand but the Argentine hit back at the former Ipswich defender's sense of outrage, pointing to the controversial goal by Geoff Hurst which helped England win the 1966 World Cup final at Wembley. ''I can't understand the attitude of Butcher,'' he said. ''Let him get on with his life and I will get on with mine. If people are fine with me then I am fine with them. ''I'm not going to seek him out and I won't lose any sleep if he doesn't shake my hand. I will still be alive tomorrow. ''England won the World Cup in 1966 with a goal that didn't cross the line so I don't think it's fair that anyone should judge me when stuff like that went on.'' In addition to putting one over Scotland's great rivals, Maradona is still fondly remembered by Scots fans from his first appearance at Hampden in 1979 when, as an 18-year-old, he scored his first international goal when Argentina beat Scotland 3-1 in a summer friendly. Tartan Army fans gathered outside the hotel with a banner declaring, 'Church of Maradona', which pleased the new Argentina coach. The former Napoli and Barcelona star said: ''I'd like to say hello to the fans, I'm very grateful for their support. It was nice to get my first goal here in Scotland and it was very special. ''I feel great. I'm very happy to be back here after all this time and I'm proud to be heading the Argentina national side. I'm very much aware of how popular I apparently am in Scotland. It's nice to see that I have made people happy and if I could do it again then it would be marvellous. ''I want to repay them by offering up a great show tomorrow night, a feast of football. I have watched some DVDs of Scotland but I will see what team I will pick after training tonight.'' Maradona is determined to be a success with Argentina and added: ''I enjoyed training with the players for the first time last night and I want to get into their hearts. ''I've had to wait for my moment to arrive and I'm very happy. If I had not taken the job then I would have been a coward. 'I needed Argentina and they possibly needed someone to guide them and now we are on the road to South Africa together.''

  • Aguero to miss Scotland game Argentina forward Sergio Aguero has left the team hotel in Glasgow and returned to Spain to be with his pregnant girlfriend - the daughter of Albicelestes coach Diego Maradona - after she was taken ill. The Atletico Madrid striker will miss Wednesday's game against Scotland to visit Giannina Maradona, the youngest daughter of new Argentina coach Diego. Maradona's ex-wife, Claudia Villafane, said that her daughter has not lost her baby, but did not reveal the nature of the problem. "Everything is all right," she said. "Nothing serious has happened. Giannina has not miscarried."

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