When Diego Maradona visited Celtic Park

By Euan Davidson

November 25, 2020

Diego Armando Maradona, one of the best players ever to lace up a pair of boots, has died at 60 years of age.

The news first broke via Argentinian outlets and is now being reported by UK media organisations such as the BBC and The Guardian.

There can be no doubt that Maradona, a Serie A winner with unfancied Napoli, and leader of the incredible 1986 Argentina World Cup winning side, was a phenomenon.

A serial winner on the pitch and a serial partier off it, Maradona lived for excess; outrageous moments of skill, controversial means to achieve success, and an explosive temper for journalists who had unkind words for his players.

Since most of the football greats have passed through Parkhead’s gates, of course there’s an anecdote linking the former Argentina superstar and our brilliant club – and it’s a good one, too.

The Hand of God at Celtic Park

In November 2008, during training for an upcoming friendly against Scotland the Argentina squad, featuring the likes of Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez, Argentina coach Maradona panicked.

He couldn’t find an important piece of jewellery, and was scrambling through the Parkhead grass, looking for the glint of silver.

Forming a “police cordon” around a ball and a patch of grass, 12 ball boys, presumably unable to believe their luck at retrieving training gear for some of the world’s most expensive football talent, attempted to salvage the missing item.

Diego Maradona at Celtic Park / (Photo by RUSSELL CHEYNE/AFP via Getty Images)

That particular honour fell to Adam Brown, who became a personal hero for Maradona that night. After finding Diego’s crucifix on a chain, the World Cup winner embraced and lifted Brown.

Imagine being Adam Brown at school the next day. Unreal.

Diego Maradona at Celtic Park / (Photo by AMA/Corbis via Getty Images)

Maradona’s men subsequently beat a Scotland side featuring Stephen McManus, Shaun Maloney, Paul Hartley and Kris Commons 1-0 at Hampden.