Football icon Diego Maradona said he hopes a second “Hand of God” in his life will intervene to put an end to the raging coronavirus crisis, 34 years after the famed Argentinian thanked divine intervention for his handball goal against England in the 1986 World Cup quarter-finals in Mexico.
The former Barcelona star, who now manages Argentina Primera Division club Gimnasia, has seen his squad not be relegated after the season was called off on Tuesday.
"Today, I ask that 'hand' to end this pandemic so the people can live their lives again, healthy and happy", Maradona told Argentine newspaper Clarin, referring to the phenomenal goal he scored with his hand against England.
He went on to sing the praises of unity in the face of the crisis that has affected people around the globe:
“Hopefully, it is understood that what is coming we have to face together for the good of Argentine football", he said, opting for a colourful comparison and expressing hope this streak of bad luck will end:
"No one is Rambo to win this war, because even Rambo loses against this (virus)".
He specifically addressed his team’s relegation, noting he was “convinced that the lads would save us on the pitch” meaning they had all worked hard for the team.
Maradona pointed out that he disagreed with the decision to suspend relegation for two years but referred to the current - favourable - ruling as “a prize".
"It is not the end that we would have wanted but this is a prize for the group that killed themselves (worked hard) on a daily basis to give joy to Gimnasia fans", he added.
There are 4,127 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Argentina, according to the latest estimates by Johns Hopkins University. Last Saturday, President Alberto Fernandez announced an extension to the mandatory nationwide quarantine until at least 10 May in the Latin American country.