sport news The weird and wonderful times Diego Maradona played the beautiful game in the UK

The late, great Diego Maradona made his name on these shores for his infamous Hand of God goal, swiftly followed by one of the greatest ever scored, in a World Cup quarter-final in 1986.

While the Argentine icon became synonymous in this country for an action-packed match against England in Mexico, he rarely made it onto these shores.

But when he did - it was often as colourful and eventful as the man himself. And, on at least three occasions, he nearly moved here permanently.

From his first goal for Argentina at Hampden Park in 1979, to numerous charity and testimonial appearances, Sportsmail take a look back at when Maradona the footballer came to the UK... 

Diego Maradona scored his first goal for Argentina against Scotland at Hampden Park in 1979

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Diego Maradona scored his first goal for Argentina against Scotland at Hampden Park in 1979

June 2, 1979

Scotland 1-3 Argentina

Two years after his debut at the age of 16, and 12 months on from being left out of Argentina's World Cup victory on home soil because he was deemed too young, Maradona arrived on British soil.

At a packed Hampden Park and against a Scottish side featuring Kenny Dalglish and Alan Hansen, and managed by Jock Stein, Maradona scored the first of 34 goals for his country with 20 minutes remaining.

The 18-year-old Maradona was still just a precocious young talent making his way at Argentinos Juniors, but the 61,918 who saw him in Glasgow that day were seeing the beginning of one of the finest careers in football. 

Maradona's first appearance against England came at Wembley just a year later

Maradona's first appearance against England came at Wembley just a year later

Maradona swaps shirts with Kevin Keegan after the game

Argentina were beaten 3-1 by England

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After the game, a young Maradona swapped shirts with England's Kevin Keegan

May 13, 1980

England 3-1 Argentina

Just under 12 months later, Maradona was back and played against England for the first of only two times in his career.

The great rivalry between the two nations was in its infancy here, two years before the Falklands War and with that World Cup meeting still six years away. This was just the third time the two had met since the controversial World Cup quarter-final clash in 1966, where captain Antonio Rattin saw red and Geoff Hurst settled the tie 12 minutes from time.

David Johnson scored twice as England ran out 3-1 victors at Wembley, and Maradona, still just a teenager at this stage, swapped shirts with Kevin Keegan at the end.  

Maradona shakes hands with Bryan Robson ahead of a Cup Winners' Cup clash at Old Trafford

Maradona shakes hands with Bryan Robson ahead of a Cup Winners' Cup clash at Old Trafford

Maradona saw his Barca side surrender a two-goal aggregate lead against Manchester United

Maradona saw his Barca side surrender a two-goal aggregate lead against

March 21, 1984

3-0 Barcelona

Four years on from his last appearance in England, Maradona was back. Now 23, he was becoming a household name and had earned his big move to Europe after swapping Boca Juniors for Barcelona in 1982.

He captained Barca here, locking horns with 's captain marvel, Bryan Robson, in a Cup Winners' Cup quarter-final - a rare competitive game for Maradona on these shores.

But it's one he won't have looked back on with fondness. 

Barca were two-goals up from the first leg at the Nou Camp, but succumbed to a furious onslaught from Ron Atkinson's side.

Robson scored twice and Frank Stapleton the other as United launched an improbable comeback to secure a place in the semi-finals, where they were beaten by Juventus. 

Maradona made a special appearance at White Hart Lane for Ossie Ardiles' testimonial in 1986

Maradona made a special appearance at White Hart Lane for Ossie Ardiles' testimonial in 1986

Maradona had to play in Clive Allen's boots as he pulled on a Spurs shirt for the match

Maradona had to play in Clive Allen's boots as he pulled on a Spurs shirt for the match

May 1986

Ossie Ardiles testimonial

In the summer where he went from a global superstar to a footballing legend, Maradona took time out of his preparations for Mexico '86 to take part in Ossie Ardiles' testimonial at White Hart Lane.

It led to the surreal image of the great Maradona pulling on a Spurs shirt as he fulfilled his friend's wishes.

For one night only, Tottenham's midfield lined up as: Glenn Hoddle, Chris Waddle, Ardiles and Maradona. The Napoli icon even turned up without boots, and was forced to borrow Clive Allen's.

'Ossie says: "Who takes [size] six and a half?'' Allen recalled to talkSPORT.

'I tell him I do and that I had two pairs of boots; one old pair I'd worn all season and a new pair I was breaking in, so I said: "Diego, be my guest and take whatever pair you want!'' 

Allen scored the winner in a 2-1 win against Inter Milan, with Mark Falco scoring the other.

'I've never played in a game where I felt like a spectator because, on the night, Diego and Glenn were just on another planet,' he added.

'They were telepathic, and you just wanted them to have the ball. Some of the flicks and skills were incredible.'

August 8, 1987

Football League 3-0 Rest of the World

To mark the start of the Football League's centenary season, an XI faced the Rest of the World in a celebration match at Wembley.

It saw England boss Bobby Robson pit his wits against future Three Lions coach Terry Venables. The great Pele was a guest of honour at the home of football.

The Football League side lined up largely as a glorified England XI, with Scotland's Richard Gough's and the Republic of Ireland's Paul McGrath the notable exceptions.

Gary Lineker, by now at Barcelona, was the sole English representative for the Rest of the World, while Maradona and Michel Platini were the big draws. 

Fourteeen months after the hand of god

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