Diego Maradona anniversary: Argentine icon’s surprise visit to Manchester United

On 25 November 2020, legendary footballer Diego Maradona passed away at his home in Argentina. 

The skillful player is widely regarded as one of the greats, notorious for his entertaining footwork and magical dribbling skills. 

On the anniversary of his death, MM looks back at 2008 when the Argentine made a surprise visit to Carrington. 

Just days after being named as the Argentina Head Coach, Maradona came to visit striker Carlos Tevez ahead of his first friendly in charge against Scotland at Hampden Park.

Whilst Tevez was aware his new boss would be arriving,  the rest of the Champions League winning squad were left in the dark about the legend’s presence. 

So when he turned up on a cold Friday morning ahead of the Red Devils fixture against Arsenal, training was brought to a standstill as players were left star-studded.

Maradona joked with gaffer Sir Alex Ferguson about the ‘Hand of God’ incident, with the proud Scotsman thanking him for beating arch-rivals England in the 1986 Mexico World Cup. 

Wayne Rooney amongst others performed to their highest standard in order to impress the World Cup winner, with Fergie joking he wished Maradona would attend every training session. 

Rio Ferdinand, who was celebrating his 30th birthday at the time, recalled to The Mirror just how special the visit was: “He was my childhood idol and part of the reason why I started to play football. I can’t hold him in higher esteem than that. 

“When he turned up at our training ground I was made up. And I wasn’t the only one. Training pretty much stopped. 

“We were all flocking round him like little kids. He’d come to see Carlos Tevez and I kept saying to Carlos, ‘make sure I get a picture with him’. 

“To be able to shake his hand, get a cuddle off him and a picture, it made my birthday.” 

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