Maradona under fire for photographs of him ‘returning from a hunting trip proudly holding a dead rare species of antelope’


Former Argentine footballer Diego Maradona has sparked fury after a picture circulated of him purportedly grinning and holding a rare dead animal in one hand and a rifle in the other. The 56-year-old – who was FIFA’s joint player of the 20th century alongside Pele – is seen holding an Arabian óryx, sparking outcry.

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It is not clear whether Maradona, who is brandishing a huge rifle in his right hand, killed the animal himself, and the footballing legend is yet to comment on the controversy.

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The picture has yet to be verified, yet has caused a major outcry in South America.  Argentine newspaper Clarin has pointed out that the species is in danger of extinction. Nicknamed Pibe de oro, or Golden Child, Maradona is a hero in his homeland, where he was pivotal in Argentina’s victory at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.3b8e6fd600000578-4054284-image-a-15_1482312435995

In that tournament, he gained notoriety with the infamous Hand of God incident, when he scored against England with his hand, yet later denied cheating.  He is no stranger to controversy, having battled drug addiction, and being sent home from the 1994 World Cup after a failed drug test. Earlier this month a video emerged of him running and dancing on a treadmill as he endeavoured to get fit for the festive period.