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'I should have come to Arsenal': How Diego Maradona almost joined London giants under Northern Irish boss Terry Neill

Ex-Arsenal boss recalls how close he came to signing Argentinian wonderkid

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Global stage: Diego Maradona in action at the 1986 World Cup finals in Mexico

Global stage: Diego Maradona in action at the 1986 World Cup finals in Mexico

Bongarts/Getty Images

Tributes are paid at Napoli’s San Paolo Stadium

Tributes are paid at Napoli’s San Paolo Stadium

Getty Images

Fond memories: Terry Neill enjoyed a good relationship with Diego Maradona for many years

Fond memories: Terry Neill enjoyed a good relationship with Diego Maradona for many years

Hulton Archive

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Global stage: Diego Maradona in action at the 1986 World Cup finals in Mexico

Mexico 1986. The great Diego Maradona was on his way to winning the World Cup for Argentina and in the middle of it all he was enjoying the craic with former Northern Ireland manager Terry Neill.

With a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eyes, Diego would tell Terry that he ought to have signed for Arsenal when the Ulsterman wanted him to. Neill, working for Fifa then and a regular visitor to the Argentine training camp, lapped up the banter with the 'Golden Boy' from Buenos Aires.


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