This May Explain Timing of Apology by Maradona

File this one under “When Pigs Fly and Americans Beat Germany, 1-Nil”:

Diego Maradona, perhaps the single-most hated soccer villain by the English after his infamous “Hand of God” goal eliminated their country from the 1986 World Cup, has been offered a position as a player-coach in the English First Division, according to the former Argentine star’s agent.

Agent Guillermo Coppola told La Red radio in Buenos Aires that Maradona has been talking to an English club, believed to be Crystal Palace, about signing on for the 1998-99 season as a player-coach.

One problem with the scenario: Last month, Terry Venables was hired as manager at Crystal Palace, and it is highly unlikely he would add the 37-year-old Maradona--who reportedly apologized for his “Hand of God” goal earlier this week--to his coaching staff, his playing staff or the Crystal Palace ticket-taking staff.


“The offer has taken us by surprise, as we were going to France for the Argentina-England match,” Coppola said, “but we will have to postpone it as we have been speaking with an English agent.”

Either that or Maradona just couldn’t get a ticket to the Argentina-England game.