Rome: Argentine football legend Diego Maradona starred in a charity match for peace, arranged by Pope Francis in Rome on Wednesday, but ended up having an ugly spat with compatriot Juan Sebastian Veron.
The 'Match of Peace' hardly remained peaceful, as Maradona, unhappy with the numerous tackles by Veron, had a heated exchange with his countryman and had to be restrained by former Brazilian defender Cafu, espn.in reported.
Maradona, known to be a combustible character, pointed a finger at Veron and started to pursue him and the pair had to separated by security staff, according to the report.
Veron, who had played under Maradona's coaching in the 2010 World Cup, has been highly critical of the legend's coaching style. They had another spat when Maradona attempted a return to the national team set up in July.
Maradona played the entire 90 minutes of the match, which also featured players like Ronaldinho, Francesco Totti, Bojan Krkic, Diego Perotti and Nicolas Burdisso.
The proceeds from the match at Rome's Olympic Stadium will go to aid needy children in Argentina and Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as victims of the earthquake that rocked central Italy in August, reports said.
Maradona's team lost the match 3-4 with Fernando Cavenaghi scoring the winning goal. The match was attended by over 20,000 fans.
"People had fun, we're happy," Maradona said after the final whistle.
"We will continue playing for peace in the world and for the children. Thank you, Italy," he added.
He also had special praise for his teammate on Wednesday, Totti.
"I'm going to tell him that he's got to carry on playing – he's a Roma legend," Maradona said prior to the match, according to espn.in.
Totti expressed happiness at having had the opportunity to play alongside Maradona, and said he might as well stop playing now.
With IANS inputs.
Published Date: Oct 13, 2016 08:40 pm | Updated Date: Oct 13, 2016 08:40 pm