Former Tunisian referee Ali Bin Nasser praises Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona, who died on Wednesday at the age of 60, and describes him as a “genius.” Nasser refereed the 1986 World Cup quarter-finals, in which Diego Maradona scored his famous double against England.
He admitted that he had doubts about the validity of Maradona’s infamous ‘Mano de Dios’ goal, but said the soccer legend’s second goal in the game was a “masterpiece.”
In the 51st minute of a round of 16 political clash in Mexico, four years after the Falklands War, Maradona edged England goalkeeper Peter Shilton and threw the ball into the net to give his country the advantage.
“I had doubts, but I didn’t see the hand. I looked back all the way to the midline to get 100% confirmation that it was a goal, I tuned it. And here, I thank the England players who were really fair. Only Mr. (Gary) Lineker approached me and said “please, referee, hand”, I said “please play” and that’s it, “he said.
The 76-year-old said he believed he was a man of reference for FIFA in tough matches, and that the world soccer governing body gave him a high rating for his performance in the game.
Argentina scored their place in the semifinals of a tournament they would win when Maradona put them two goals ahead with a goal that was later voted the ‘Goal of the Century’.
The then Napoli star evaded attempts by six England players to tackle or foul during a fascinating run from the midline, before pushing into an empty net.
29 years later, Maradona visited Bin Nasser while filming an advertisement in Tunisia and handed him a T-shirt with the words “For my eternal friend Ali.”
“I was behind him, the first foul was on Maradona, I said ‘game, advantage’. The second the same, then the third, and then he went to the penalty area. What do I see? The defender’s foot on Maradona’s foot, and the goal in the back of the net after the 50-meter effort. I was proud to participate in this goal that was voted the best goal of the century, I participated in advantage, even when Maradona visited me at home, he said it was thanks to this man that he had this goal of the century ”, Nasser recalls.