Maradona denies racism claim

Diego Maradona was accused of making a racist gesture following Argentina's World Cup opener in Moscow but he claims he is innocent.

Diego Maradona waves to the Argentina fans   -  Getty Images

Diego Maradona has denied making a racist gesture at a group of South Korea fans following Argentina's World Cup clash with Iceland on Saturday.

The inspiration behind Argentina's 1986 title triumph was accused of pulling at the corner of his eyes - a move widely accepted as being racist - when a group of fans waved at him after he took in his country's 1-1 draw in Moscow.

But Maradona claims the incident has been blown out of proportion and he was actually showing his gratitude that fans from Asia should be supporting Argentina.

He wrote on Facebook: "I understand better than anyone that in the World Cup people are looking for news everywhere, but I want to be clear with this: today, in the stadium, among so many demonstrations of affection from the people, I was struck by a group of people around a fan who filmed us, an Asian boy wearing an Argentina T-shirt.

"I, from afar, tried to tell them how nice it seemed to me that even the Asians cheer for us. And that's all, guys, come on."

The initial accusation of racism came from British television broadcaster, Jacqui Oatley, who tweeted: "Maradona not so cool now. Some South Korea fans just shouted "Diego" and he obliged with a smile, kiss and wave. Then [he] pulled his eyes to the side in a clearly racist gesture. All of us who saw it are stunned."

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