BELO HORIZONTE Brazil (Reuters) - Former World Cup winner Diego Maradona showed Argentine FA President Julio Grondona the finger on live television after the soccer administrator had suggested Argentina scored against Iran because “jinxed” Maradona had left the stadium by then.
Argentina struggled against Iran at Belo Horizonte’s Mineirao stadium on Saturday with Maradona in the stands as a spectator along with his daughter.
The 1986 World Cup winner got out of his seat and left shortly before the end of both halves, missing Lionel Messi’s brilliant stoppage-time winner which gave them a 1-0 win and a place in the 16.
“Jinx this,” Maradona said, looking at the camera of Venezuela’s Telesur broadcaster for whom he works as a commentator at the World Cup and holding up his middle finger in response to Grondona’s comments to reporters.
“Poor, stupid man. This is Messi’s merit, Not because I left,” Maradona added.
Telesur is a left-leaning Caracas-based Latin American network set up by the late socialist leader Hugo Chavez as an intended counterpoint to what he saw as capitalist-dominated global media.
Maradona was an admirer and friend of Chavez‘s, as well as Cuba’s former leader Fidel Castro.
The 82-year-old Grondona, who has been head of the Argentina FA since 1979, was in charge when Maradona almost single-handedly steered Argentina to World Cup victory in Mexico in 1986.
Maradona was coach of the national team at the last World Cup in 2010.
Editing by Ed Osmond