Andoni Goikoetxea pays respect to old foe Diego Maradona

Ex-Athletic Club player Andoni Goikoetxea has given his condolences to Diego Maradona, who passed away in Tigre, Buenos Aires, on Tuesday at the age of 60.

The Argentine has seen his life chequered by health problems ever since his retirement in the late 1990s.

“I just found about about Maradona’s death,” Goikoetxea wrote. “It makes me very sad. He was a genius who was born to play football. Rest in peace, Diego.”

Goikoetxea’s condolences are especially significant given the incident that occurred between him and Maradona at Camp Nou in 1983, when Goikoetxea injured Maradona, who was playing for Barcelona, and laid the groundwork for a massive brawl at the end of the 1984 Copa Del Rey final.

They patched things up, however, when Maradona returned to Bilbao to play against Athletic Club with Sevilla. “After the cup final that we won with Endika’s goal and that mess of kicks and blows that was unfortunate, Maradona went to play for Napoli,” Goikoetxea remembered recently as quoted in Mundo Deportivo.

“Then he returned to Sevilla, and when he came to play in Bilbao I called the team delegate because I wanted to say hello. We spent a while chatting together at the hotel, spending half an hour having coffee.” Goikoetxea said that they spent the time talking of life, their children and their families.

The Basque earned the nickname of “The Butcher of Bilbao” partly due to that tackle on Maradona, and spent all of his career with Athletic Club aside from a three-year spell with Atletico Madrid toward the end of his career.

Maradona had three significant moments in Spain. He played in the 1982 World Cup hosted by the country, before a two year spell with Barcelona and a season with Sevilla, a decade apart and either side of his peak with Napoli in Italy.

Featured image courtesy of These Football Times.

Tags Andoni Goikoetxea Athletic Club Barcelona Diego Maradona La Liga