Diego Maradona has overshadowed Argentina’s progress to the last 16 with his antics in Saint Petersburg in the win over Nigeria.
The icon appeared to be intoxicated and admitted to bingeing on white wine, while for a second time the former World Cup winner made an offensive gesture.
Beforehand it was a racist gesture towards South Korea supporters, this time he aimed a single-finger salute at fans, seemingly of Nigeria, below him after Marcos Rojo’s match winner.
All this and FIFA are paying for the privilege of the controversial figure to attend their games in Russia.
That privilege is costing £10,000 (Shs50.7m) per day – and the rest: including travel, accommodation and expenses.
That is part of FIFA President Gianni Infantino’s legends concept, whereby great players are in attendance to witness the current generation and remind viewers of historic moments of the past
A good idea in theory and Maradona has certainly paid back that money in exchange for attention, though perhaps not the kind that FIFA would want, though it is hard to imagine they did not know what they were signing up for.
The Mail claim Maradona is on considerably more than other legends in attendance as part of the same scheme, including Ronaldo, Carles Puyol, Iker Casillas, Xavi and Samuel Eto’o.
Maradona has had free reign at every game so far, taking up the best seat in the house, puffing away on cigars, making obscene gestures, not to mention becoming so intoxicated that he needed to be carried out of his seat vs Nigeria.
Maradona is certainly attracting attention, just of the wrong kind for FIFA’s prestigious event.