Madness and magic from Maradona’s motherland
Remember the Peanuts character Pig-Pen? Wherever he went, the poor kid always had a ring of dust and dirt surrounding him.
Similarly, Diego Maradona has a ring of muck the size of Saturn's spinning constantly around him.
God's arrival as the new coach of Argentina created a new maelstrom that whirled around the world. "He's our saviour," believers chorused. "Just a marketing tool," cynics argued. As another put it: "If he can't organise his life, how is he going to organise 11 people on a pitch?"
He flew to England, all shades and bodyguards, and went home. And then he did what Maradona is supposed to do: caused another scandal.
Football managers have been known to throw their toys out of the pram when things go wrong. But most coaches have at least had a game in charge.
Shady character flies into Europe
Maradona's first "incident" happened before what could be his first game, against Scotland. Yes, "could be." Because on returning to Buenos Aires he fell out with his biggest advocate, AFA head Julio Grondona, over the appointment of Maradona's assistant, former team-mate Oscar Ruggeri.
It was an astonishing appointment, and one that could be seen as a dig at Grondona: Ruggeri is a personal rival of the AFA president. Grondona's reaction to Maradona's selection? "I don't like his face, it's a personal thing." Whatever, Maradona has warned he will resign if he can't hire his "own people."
God. And his boss
All Argentines believe Diego is like God, only better at keepie-uppies. Trouble is, Maradona believes it too.
And he might not be in such a strong position has he thinks. Grondona is not a man to be bribed into accepting a sworn enemy in his ranks, and the public support for El Diez's new role isn't quite as strong as he might think.
Whether Diego gets his way, we'll know in a couple of days. But in the battle of egos, neither has the upper hand.
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