Meeting Diego Maradona was a “dream come true” for former India football captain Shabbir Ali.
The Argentina legend passed away at 60 on Wednesday. Ali recalled the moment when he got to shake hands with Maradona. “Honestly, shaking hands and exchanging pleasantries with the great Maradona gave me the feeling of ‘Touching the Hand of God,” he told Sportstar.
“Those moments are frozen in my memory. Truly unforgettable. The great Maradona was in Kolkata to formally inaugurate an exhibition match featuring two local outfits, a mix of players from Mohammedan Sporting and East Bengal. I was the coach of Sporting while my illustrious colleague Subroto Bhattacharya was with East Bengal,” said the 64-year-old.
“It was not a lengthy conversation because there was such a big, noisy crowd. All I could tell him was that I was a huge admirer of his skills. Then, he went on to the field to showcase his dribbling skills.
“His demise is a huge shock for the football fraternity across the world. For his stature, he showed remarkable skills and combined speed with precision in scoring those unbelievable goals,” added Ali.
“I consider myself unlucky that when the Argentine national squad was there for the 1984 Nehru Cup, except Maradona, almost all the other big names of Argentina were there. Two years later that team went on to win the World Cup. Wish we had played against Maradona in that tournament,” he said.
- Ranji Trophy 2023-24: Shardul Thakur runs the show to ensure Mumbai has last laugh against Assam
- Eight-year-old Indian-born becomes youngest to beat grandmaster
- Ranji Trophy 2023-24: Shardul, Dube pull Mumbai to safety against Assam on Day 1
- Champions League: Inter’s Inzaghi unsure what to expect from Atletico and old friend Simeone
- Alcaraz says he needs to improve ‘many things’ after Buenos Aires loss