Saturday, October 2, 2010

shortly know to Diego Maradona and his future mission

Diego wants national coach job back Maradona has an obsession

Former national soccer team coach Diego Maradona balances a ball during a charity show in Mosco for children with cancer.

Foto Noticia
By Eric Weil

Diego Maradona is revered in Argentina and many parts of the world as the greatest ever soccer star, but not as a coach. As he turns 50 this month, his greatest obsession is to return to coach the national team again although a recent poll in a leading local newspaper showed that 91 percent of soccer fans do not want him back.

This is perhaps unkind to a man who showed unusual enthusiasm in the job when taking Argentina to this year’s World Cup, but he lacked experience and it showed when things got difficult.
He says: “We had one bad match (against Germany). We had everything planned, the marking well defined and we received a goal in their first centre. From then another match began and as we strove for goals we were exposed to counter-attacks.” Argentina lost 4-0 and were eliminated from the World Cup, but Maradona forgot to mention that Germany were also the better team. However, there have been grey areas in this story from the beginning and Maradona’s latest utterances failed to clear them.

When Argentina won the Olympic Games soccer tournament in 2006 with Sergio Batista as coach, Maradona was there in an honorary capacity to motivate the team. It impressed Argentine FA (AFA) President Julio Grondona and when Alfio Basile resigned as national team coach for reasons he did not want to reveal, Grondona picked Maradona to replace him although he was hardly the favourite of soccer officials and fans. There were also strong indications that Maradona had convinced several national team players to help him get Basile out and he then had to include these players in the World Cup squad whether they were the best available or not.

Grondona suggested that U-20 team coach Batista and his assistant, José Luis Brown should join Maradona’s training staff, but Maradona had got his own friends together (except for Carlos Bilardo imposed as manager by Grondona) and apparently did not want them. Later, he never had any close relations with them at the Ezeiza training camp. Now Maradona says he asked Batista and Brown to join his staff and they did not want to as long as Bilardo was part of it — strange because Bilardo was their coach in the 1986 World Cup winning team. Batista denied this and said he wanted to continue as head coach of the U-20 team and that his relations with Bilardo are good.

Maradona says that after that 4-0 World Cup defeat by Germany, Grondona told him in the dressing room that he wanted him to continue as coach. Maradona now calls him a liar, but Grondona did not fire him. He merely wanted to change his training staff which Maradona refused to accept and left. Now. however, Maradona is so desperate to get the job back that he might be prepared to have his training staff changed and one of its members and friend (Mancuso) says he would leave if he was the problem.

One of the reasons other members of the AFA committee did not like Maradona was because they did not get on well with him. In South Africa, For example, he would not let them watch training sessions. Maradona says this was because the players did not want the officials there, but some players have denied this. Maradona now says he had no problem with committee members. When some told him they could not go back to their hotel because they are continually being pestered there for match tickets by hooligans, he made room for Luis Segura and Juan Carlos Crespi to stay at the training camp, not Noray Nakis who, he said “is a hooligan anyway.” But Maradona is not really worried about committee members. He says the AFA does not have a committee, just an owner (Grondona).

When Maradona’s former wife, Claudia Villafañe (who is now his manager) went to see Grondona recently to collect his remaining salary, she mentioned the possibility of him returning as national team coach. The AFA chief said the time is not ripe. When Maradona went to see the presidential couple, Néstor and Cristina Kirchner at their Olivos residence later, he said it was just a visit, but it was to ask for their support to become national team coach again. It is well known that the Kirchners wanted him to continue as coach — is there some political significance attached? — and Grondona was getting worried about possible government interference.

A few days ago, Maradona went to Russia to fulfil a sponsorship contract in Moscow at the same time that Lionel Messi was in that country with Barcelona for a European Champions League match and it was rumoured that he would meet the Barcelona player to ask for support also. Messi was “his Maradona” the former coach said and their relationship “had been fantastic” although it was chiefly Maradona’s fault that the 2009 Player of the World failed to shine during the World Cup. The meeting never took place. Messi was playing in Kazan, 600 kilometres from Moscow, but he had been quoted as saying that he was very satisfied with interim coach Batista. But Maradona seems so obsessed with getting the job back that he is trying to disqualify Batista in every way.

In an interview with River Plate president Daniel Passarella recently, he mentioned that when he was national team coach (from 1994 to 1998), Maradona often criticized him and it was evident even then that the player would have liked his job.

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