Ben Shephard paid tribute to Diego Maradona on Good Morning Britain today as he remembered playing against the football hero in a once-in-a-lifetime moment.
The Argentinian football legend died on Wednesday at the age of 60, with the world remembering his unmatched influence in football.
But speaking to co-star Susanna Reid on GMB, host Ben remembered the kind-natured player he met as part of the inaugural Soccer Aid match back in 2006.
He said: ‘There was this extraordinary charisma that he had around the game.
‘He was just amazing, because the expectation was he would only play 10-15 minutes at the start of the game, but he wouldn’t come off.
‘He was having so much fun, he absolutely loved every single minute of it. Being the centre of attention on a football pitch.’
Referencing the moment his abilities and ‘Hand Of God’ goal knocked England out of the World Cup back in 1986, Ben admitted that the reception was less-than-warm for the player.
‘When he came on the pitch there was a lot of booing, because of course, everything that he did in the World Cup in 86,’ Ben explained.
‘By the time he left, he walked off to a rapturous standing ovation. Listening to that on the pitch, listening to that change in tone…
‘Very quickly, everybody forgot what he did in 86 and just loved the fact that they were able to watch him.’
Soccer Aid – the now-annual charity match to raise money for Unicef – sees celebrities and pro players join forces in an England Vs Rest of the World game.
Launched at Old Trafford in 2006 with the help of Maradona, the competition has so far helped raise more than £38million for the charity.
Good Morning Britain airs weekdays from 6am on ITV.
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