The 57-year-old was spotted in the Spartak Stadium stands near to the press box where members of the media were located, and he was happy to pose for pictures with fans throughout the game.
But ITV presenter Jacqui Oatley, who was also in the stadium as part of the broadcaster’s coverage of the encounter, claimed that Maradona made a “clearly racist gesture” after young South Korean fans shouted and waved at him.
“Maradona not so cool now. Some South Korea fans just shouted “Diego” and he obliged with a smile, kiss and wave. Then pulled his eyes to the side in a clearly racist gesture. All of us who saw it are stunned,” Oatley posted on Twitter.
Other reporters also posted messages on social media expressing their disbelief that the former Argentina international had performed such a gesture, with presenter Seema Jaswal admitting that Maradona “should know better”.
Maradona was also spotted smoking a large cigar during the match even though the stadium is a non-smoking venue.
He played at four World Cups during his career between 1982 and 1994, making 91 appearances for the Argentina national team and scoring 34 goals in an illustrious career that saw him lift the famous World Cup trophy in 1986.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies