Harried Maradona says to review Argentina role

BUENOS AIRES, (Reuters) – Diego Maradona, unhappy  with interference in his job as Argentina coach, will review  his position after their final World Cup qualifier away to  Uruguay in Montevideo next week, he said yesterday.  

Maradona said his appointment a year ago had made him “the  happiest guy in the world, but then things happened that I  didn’t like.”  

“If I carry on, it will be on my terms,” Maradona told  reporters after a squad practice, adding he would discuss the  job with Argentine Football Association president Julio  Grondona.  

Local media said Maradona, whose team are in danger of  failing to qualify for the 2010 finals in South Africa, was  unhappy that technical director Carlos Bilardo had taken  decisions without consulting him.  

Bilardo, coach when Argentina won the World Cup in 1986,  reportedly publicised a squad list of home-based players for a  friendly against Ghana last week without consulting Maradona. 

Maradona returned from a 10-day break in Italy and in a  tacit rebuff of Bilardo told reporters he was in sole charge  and “no-one imposes players on me”.  

He has been under pressure since his team faltered in the  qualifiers, going down to three successive defeats against  Ecuador, Brazil and Paraguay.  

Argentina face Peru in Buenos Aires on Saturday and Uruguay  away on Wednesday of next week with qualification for the 2010  finals hanging in the balance.  

Maradona has been criticised for a lack of team strategy  and selection consistency.  

But in a typically dramatic remark, he said he had  inherited a team “with lots of yellows (cards) and we filled up  with more yellows because we were playing for our lives.”  

Maradona’s anger came to the surface when asked about a  muscle injury to Manchester City defender Pablo Zabaleta, who  arrived in Buenos Aires yesterday morning with striker Carlos  Tevez after they played in a Premier League match on Monday.  

He had wanted the pair not to play the match against Aston  Villa to avoid injuries.  

“We missed the boat. Someone should have travelled (to  England) to bring them. We have two very important matches and  it hurts me a lot, but we have to live with it,” Maradona said.  

Argentina are fifth in the South American group, a position  valid for a playoff with the team finishing fourth in the  CONCACAF region. Only the top four qualify automatically.

Around the Web

Comments