DIEGO MARADONA should have been sent off BEFORE the 1990 World Cup final had even kicked off for swearing during anthems, according to the referee for the Rome showdown.
Argentina lost to West Germany in a fierce-tempered match at Italia 90, with two of Maradona's team-mates sent off and the Germans awarded a late, winning penalty.
During the game, referee Edgardo Codesal flashed the red card to Argentine duo Pedro Monzon and Gustavo Dezotti either side of Andreas Brehme's trophy-sealing spot-kick.
Maradona – then of Napoli – had already enraged the entirety of Italy after knocking the hosts out of the tournament in their semi-final.
And he arguably should have been sent off during the national anthems for the final showdown for his bad language.
Codesal has now opened up on the match, even calling Maradona – whose "Hand of God" moment against England helped them win the World Cup four years earlier – "one of the worst people ever".
The former referee told Uruguayan outlet Tirando Paredes: "I could have sent [Maradona] off before the game started.
"He was swearing profusely during the national anthem.
"Later when I decided to send off Monzon, Maradona approached me and claimed I was a thief and on the Fifa payroll.
"I saw Maradona do some remarkable things on the pitch and also saw that his knee had ballooned from aggressive tackling.
"As a player he was the best but as a person he was an unpleasant person and one of the worst I've gotten to know in my life."
TEARS FOR DIEGO
In 1990, shortly after the final defeat, Maradona had his say on the events – slamming Codesal for his behaviour, suggesting the ref wanted Argentina to lose.
Maradona revealed: "Our players ran hard, but then came this man who ruined everything for us.
"This man was scared that we would get to penalties. He wanted to make the Italian people happy.
"The black hand of this man expelled Monzon for a normal action, and later he called a penalty against us from his imagination.
"I have been crying for a long time.
"Football has been my life and I wasn't crying because we got second place, but because of the way we lost.
"This man didn't have any right to call that penalty."
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