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Maradona special: The day Diego played for Spurs

Posted on 23 October 2017  - 18:15

Diego Maradona was back at Spurs on Sunday - over 30 years since he thrilled fans at White Hart Lane.

Reunited - Ossie and Maradona at WembleyDiego in action at the LaneOssie, Mauricio, Diego at Wembley

The greatest player on the planet - certainly at that time - pulled on our famous Lilywhite shirt in a testimonial match for his compatriot, the great Ossie Ardiles, against Inter Milan on Thursday, May 1, 1986.

On Sunday, he was a guest of Ossie for our fantastic 4-1 win against Liverpool at Wembley Stadium, connected by EE, where he was reunited with Mauricio Pochettino, 24 years after they were team-mates at Newell's Old Boys in Argentina.

Back at the Lane in 1986, Maradona turned up without boots, borrowed Clive Allen's and wowed the 30,000-plus crowd who turned up to honour World Cup winner Ossie.

Clive and Mark Falco scored as we ran out 2-1 winners with Liam Brady on target for Inter.

Below: Ossie and Maradona at the Lane in 1986

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Two months later, Maradona produced one of the best individual performances in tournament football to inspire Argentina to World Cup glory in Mexico.

In the group stage, he scored one and provided assists for four of Argentina's six goals before scoring twice in the quarter-final against England - including the infamous 'Hand of God' goal - then both goals in the semi-final victory over Belgium.

There was one more assist as Argentina beat West Germany 3-2 in the final at the Azteca Stadium.

Here's what some of the players involved said at the time...

Glenn Hoddle

"The sheer magnetism of Maradona lifted the whole atmosphere. A staggering 30,000-plus crowd turned up for the match, and the kick-off had to be delayed for 15 minutes to allow all the thousands of fans in. Maradona and Ossie entered the stadium after the two teams to thunderous applause. It was clear the public were enthralled to have the chance to see a player of Maradona’s special skills, and he didn’t disappoint them. Of course he did not extend himself to the full, but I am a player whose philosophy is built around skilful football and I could not but admire this stocky little genius."

Chris Waddle

"I’ve never seen a better footballer. Never. He was by far the best player I’ve ever played with. In the game he did a couple of nice runs and a bicycle kick; he was quite quiet, but when you had the ball you knew you could give it to him and there wouldn’t be any problems. His touch was amazing and he was so strong. His change of pace and change of direction were incredible.

"We were saying to Ossie afterwards, ‘What did he think?’ When we were saying that, Maradona came up to me in the dressing room and shook my hand. And through Ossie’s translation, he said, 'very good player, he should play in Italy’. I thought, ‘Wow, Maradona’s just said I’m a good player’."

Below: Chris Waddle in action that night against Inter


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Tony Galvin

"When we found out he was actually going to play, everyone got very excited. We were all queuing up for his autograph in the dressing room before the game. He’d never met the team before and we were all waiting for autographs. It was quite funny seeing all these footballers waiting with pens in the dressing room.

"You could really play one-touch football with him. When you play with top-class players like that, the one thing that always strikes you is their first touch; really top players have magnificent control of the ball. I remember a pass got really hammered into him and he killed it dead - he was clearly thinking about the next pass before the ball had even arrived. And when he ran with the ball it was never further than three inches from his foot - this is something you just can’t coach."