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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Diego Maradona shrugs off Butcher snub

New Argentina boss Diego Maradona will not lose any sleep if Terry Butcher refuses to shake his hand at Hampden.

Scotland assistant Butcher said he will never forgive Maradona for the infamous "Hand of God" goal which helped knock England out of the 1986 World Cup.

"I don't understand why Butcher has this attitude," said Maradona, who then queried England's 1966 World Cup win.

"England won a World Cup with a goal that never crossed the line, so it's not fair that people should judge me."

He was, of course, referring to Geoff Hurst's extra-time goal in the final against West Germany at Wembley that may not have crossed the goal-line after thundering off the underside of the crossbar.

Hurst's hat-trick goal to make it 4-2 was also controversial, since several spectators had run on to the pitch before he scored.

Maradona has received a warm welcome in Scotland as he prepares for his first game in charge of the national team.

However, former England captain Butcher was not in the mood to join in with the adulation for one of the game's greatest players.

"If people are fine with me, I'll greet them," added Maradona.

"Let Butcher get on with his life and I'll get on with my life.

"I'm not going to lose any sleep over it. If Butcher doesn't shake my hand, I'll still be alive tomorrow."

Maradona scored his first international goal at Hampden in a 3-1 win in 1979 and the Argentine legend has fond memories of Glasgow.

His virtuoso performance won him many fans in Scotland, while his role in eliminating England from the World Cup in Mexico may have added to his list of admirers north of the border.

"I am very much aware of how popular I am and it's great to think I've made them very happy," said Maradona when asked about his relationship with Scottish supporters.

"If I get the chance to make them happy again, that would be marvellous.

"It's something that was very special to me. It was nice to start my international career and get my first goal here.

"What I want to do in terms of repaying them is hopefully put on a good spectacle.

"I feel great. I feel very good. I'm very happy to be back in Scotland after so long away.

"It's a very, very proud moment for me to be heading up the Argentina national side."

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