France president Emmanuel Macron praises Maradona with dig at Margaret Thatcher

France president Emmanuel Macron has praised Diego Maradona with a blatant dig at late former UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

Argentina football legend Maradona passed away aged 60 on Wednesday after suffering heart failure whilst sleeping at home in Buenos Aires.

Tributes have poured in from across the world of sport and beyond for the much-loved forward, highly regarded as one the greatest ever players.

Macron chose to pay his own respects to Maradona with a strange tribute, hailing him for defeating "Margaret Thatcher's England" in the 1986 World Cup.

Maradona infamously cheated in the quarter-final fixture, using his 'Hand of God' to score Argentina's first, before producing a spectacular solo effort for their second on the way to victory.

The win came just four years after England had claimed victory in the Falklands War between the two nations while under Thatcher's leadership.

Macron's comments were among a 600-word statement made by the Elysee, during which he also hailed Maradona as the best player of all time, even ahead of French legends Michel Platini and Zinedine Zidane.

The statement told how Maradona "had to write the history of a country scarred by dictatorship and military defeat."

Before explaining: "This resurrection took place in 1986, in the most geopolitical match in football history, a World Cup quarter-final against Margaret Thatcher's England.

"On June 22, 1986, in Mexico City, he scored his first goal with God as a teammate. The miracle is disputed, but the referee didn't see a thing: Maradona's sense of showmanship made him irrelevant."

Diego Maradona dies age 60




During the rest of the tribute, Macron refers to Maradona as a "genius" and an "artist" while claiming the football pitch was the stage for his own revolution, before ending it with: "Diego remains."

Thousands of fans are paying homage to Maradona at the presidential palace in Argentina, as the country begins three days of national mourning for their hero.

Maradona's coffin is on display at the palace and is expected to attract over one million visitors in the coming days.

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