Diego brushes off Butcher row
Diego Maradona has brushed aside Terry Butcher's simmering tension ahead of Scotland's friendly against Argentina.
By Rob Parrish
Last Updated: 18/11/08 9:07pm
Diego Maradona has brushed aside Terry Butcher's simmering tension ahead of Scotland's friendly against Argentina, live on Sky Sports 1 and HD1.
Butcher, now assistant manager to Scotland boss George Burley, was in the England side beaten by Argentina in the 1986 World Cup quarter-final in Mexico when Maradona scored his infamous 'Hand of God' goal.
That moment made him public enemy No.1 in England but a hero to Scotland supporters, and Butcher admitted on Tuesday that he would never forgive Maradona and will not shake his hand on the touchline.
The legendary forward, speaking at a press conference live on Sky Sports News, raised his eyebrows when told of Butcher's stance but insisted he would not be distracted.
Speaking through an interpreter, Maradona said: "I am not going to seek him out, I don't know why Butcher is taking this attitude. If people are fine with me I will greet them.
"I just don't understand why Butcher would take this attitude. Let Butcher get on with his own life and I'll get on with my life.
"I'm not going to lose any sleep over it, if he doesn't shake my hand, I'll still be alive tomorrow."
Maradona, arguably the greatest player ever to grace the football field, is aware of his iconic status in Scotland and is keen to repay the Tartan Army with a memorable match on Wednesday night.
The former Barcelona and Napoli ace scored his first-ever international goal in a friendly win over the Scots at Hampden Park back in 1979, a moment which remains close to his heart.
He said: "I feel very pleased to be back here in Scotland and I'm very much aware of apparently how popular I am. It is great to think that at some point I have made them (the fans) so happy, and if I get the chance to make them happy again in the future that would be marvellous.
"It is something which is very special for me, it was very nice to start out here and get my first international goal here. What I want to do in terms of repaying them is offer up a great spectacle tomorrow night, I really want to show them a feast of football and hope it is an entertaining game."
The clash with Scotland marks Maradona's bow as coach of the international side, but he has already set his sights on guiding the South American giants to World Cup glory once again.
He said: "The aim of this group of players is to finish first, that has to be the aim and objective of Argentina.
"A lot needs to change, in terms of tactics, players, the approach to a certain extent. But most of all I want the players to be happy to be wearing the shirt of Argentina and happy to be part of the set-up.
"It would be great to get a place in the heart of the players. I have had to wait for my moment to arrive but now my time has come."