Nov 1, 2008

Sports - Football;Maradona compares Argentina team to dirty Rolls Royce

Brian Homewood

Diego Maradona, expected to be confirmed as Argentina's new coach on Tuesday, has likened his future team to a grimy Rolls Royce.

Maradona also said Sergio Batista and Jose Luis Brown, two of his team mates in the 1986 World Cup-winning side, had agreed to join former coach Carlos Bilardo on his backroom staff.

Argentina boast one of the best squads in world football, led by Lionel Messi and Juan Roman Riquelme. But they have failed to perform this year, winning only one of their last eight games.

The impending appointment of Maradona, one of the game's greatest players but also one of its most troubled, is an attempt to galvanise the team.

"The Argentine national side is like a Rolls Royce covered in dirt, it needs to be cleaned," the 48-year-old told reporters after a meeting at the Football Association's training camp outside Buenos Aires.

Maradona, who failed three doping tests in his career, said talks had gone as planned with Batista and Brown, a defender who scored in the 1986 World Cup final against West Germany.

"It was a very positive meeting, I'm very happy. I saw they were just as enthusiastic as myself and this is what I wanted," he said.

Maradona is set to take charge for the first time in the friendly in Scotland on November 19.

Batista, who coached the under-23 team which won the gold medal at the Olympic Games in August, had at one stage been a candidate to lead the senior side and according to media reports was reluctant to work as an assistant.

"I wanted to know what was going to happen to the youth teams," Batista said.

"Diego is a good choice, he has a strong personality, he's full of enthusiasm and he's really looking forward to getting to work.

"We will do the impossible for the Argentina team."

Maradona's impending appointment is a remarkable personal achievement for a man who has suffered from drug addiction, alcohol problems and obesity since retiring, at one stage spending 10 days in intensive care.

(Editing by Tony Jimenez)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Diego Maradona should be given a chance to prove himself worthy, of being the coach of the Argentinian football national team. His story of triumph over drug addiction, and alcoholism is already a personal achievement for him. Maybe he really can do something special for the team, considering he is a legend of the game.