Gary Lineker today paid tribute to Diego Maradona after his death at the age of 60, but came under fire from critics who were offended by his remark: "Hopefully he will finally find some comfort in the hands of God."
Some Lineker Twitter followers said it was "not the time" for the former English footballer to give the hint referring to the "Hand of God" goal the Argentine legend scored at the 1986 World Cup.
Lineker, who now presents the BBC's Match of the Day and also scored in the same quarter-final game in Mexico that scored the infamous goal, tweeted today: & # 39; Reports from Argentina that Diego Armando Maradona has died.
& # 39; By far the best player of my generation and arguably the greatest of all time. After a blessed but troubled life, hopefully he will finally find some comfort in the hands of God. #RIPDiego. & # 39;
But the tweet didn't go down well with everyone, and Brazilian journalist Eduardo Monsanto said, “Show some respect. Being a ** hole doesn't suit you, at least I thought. & # 39; Lineker replied, "Sorry, where's the disrespect?"
Gary Lineker is pictured with Diego Maradona when he appeared on the Argentinian star's live TV show in Venezuela in 2014
Maradona's & # 39; Hand of God & # 39; goal against England in the 1986 quarter-finals when he hand pushed the ball into the net
Mr. Monsanto replied, “Come on … we both know what you mean. There is an entire country in mourning for the loss of its favorite son. This is no time for double meaning. & # 39; Lineker hit back: "Your misunderstanding is complete."
Another commented, "No time to play puns, Gary." But Lineker replied, “Don't be ridiculous. It is from the heart. & # 39;
A journalist defended Lineker, saying, “I've now seen someone dare to make an argument. I don't care, you were nothing short of poetic. & # 39; Lineker replied: & # 39; Thank you. I can only imagine that it is a translation problem. & # 39;
The tweet received 1,000 comments, 9,000 retweets and 72,000 likes within the first 40 minutes of its publication. Others said Lineker's words were just a "harmless, heartfelt play on words" and urged people to "keep going."
The couple share a history after the Lineker chased the 2006 World Cup winner in Buenos Aires for the BBC documentary "When Lineker met Maradona".
Maradona (left) and Lineker (right) at the Golden Shoe Awards in Paris in September 1986, three months after the World Cup
Maradona pursued the "Hand of God" goal by achieving the "Goal of the Century" in the same game, a remarkable solo performance
The English striker Gary Lineker (2nd from left) scored a goal in the quarter-finals of the World Cup against Argentina on June 22, 1986 at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City
Lineker was told during his search for Maradona in his pre-2006 World Cup documentary that handball was "torn" by the man himself.
The Argentine world champion and the former national team manager had been to hospital in Buenos Aires after an operation to remove a blood clot from his brain earlier this month.
Widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time, Maradona was the inspiration for the success of the Argentine World Cup in Mexico in 1986.
He also led the country to the final of the 1990 tournament in Italy and administered it in South Africa in 2010.
Maradona's successes made him a world star and national hero in Argentina, but his career was also marked by controversy on and off the field.
Maradona's successes made him a world star and national hero in Argentina, but his career was also marked by controversy on and off the field. He took a free kick against England at the 1986 World Cup
Lineker (pictured playing for England) was told during his search for Maradona in his pre-World Cup documentary that handball was "torn" by the man himself. The Argentine hero has yet to admit to having cheated
His "Hand of God" goal against England in the 1986 quarter-finals when he put the ball into the net with his hand brought him shame – although he subsequently scored the "Goal of the Century", a remarkable solo performance in the same game.
His international career as a player ended in shame when he failed a drug test at the 1994 World Cup in the United States and was notorious for his wayward lifestyle.
He was banned from football in 1991 after testing positive for cocaine while playing for Napoli. However, he remained a revered figure at the Italian club, where he won two Serie A titles.
He also played for Barcelona, Sevilla, Boca Juniors and Newells Old Boys and was most recently manager of Gimnasia y Esgrima in La Plata, Argentina.
It is assumed that UEFA will observe a minute's silence in Maradona's memory at all Champions League matches today.
(tagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) Sport (t) Sports news (t) Diego Maradona