Madness and magic from Maradona’s motherland
The Ten is angry with Big Nose and The Boss for scheming behind his back.
The Boss knows that The Ten is impossible to control, but puts up with him because he is, after all, The Ten. The people love him.
Big Nose also knows that The Ten is impossible to control, and had been told by The Boss to make sure the whole project didn’t go horribly wrong. But when he did what The Boss asked of him, The Ten made is clear that he was having none of it.
The relationship between The Boss (Julio Grondona), Big Nose (Carlos Bilardo) and The Ten (Diego Maradona) is a marriage of inconvenience.
In some way or other, all of them owe the other two. Big Time. Grondona stayed in his job as AFA president largely thanks to the success of Bilardo and Maradona on the pitch. Bilardo enjoyed the unconditional support of Grondona as national team coach, and then won the World Cup thanks to Maradona’s brilliance. Maradona was a World Cup winning captain with Bilardo, and is now national team coach thanks to the indulgence of Grondona.
So with this backstory of favours and debts, along with the odd falling out over precisely what Bilardo’s job is, plus an international friendly thrown in for good measure, another perfect storm has hit the Argentine national team.
This week an Argentina B side made up of locally-based players takes on Ghana. The Ghanaians have demonstrated the importance of this game by sending a C side. The fans in Córdoba, where the game will be played, haven’t exactly been buying the tickets en masse.
The idea is to take a look at players based in Argentina who will be in the squad for next week’s two do-or-die qualifiers against Peru and Uruguay.
When the planning was under way for the game, however, Diego was in Italy, shedding several kilos at an expensive spa and handing over a £3,400 pair of earrings to the Italian tax man.
NEWS, Fri 18 Sep: Tax police seize Maradona's earrings
In Maradona’s absence, Bilardo met with Grondona. Maradona was invited to the meeting but was otherwise occupied. Maradona soon discovered that back in Argentina Bilardo was calling the shots.
"I’m in charge here, and I name the squad list," he declared on returning to the country, going on to suggest that there are changes just around the corner: "Let’s get past the qualifiers, and then we’ll see." The "we’ll see" was taken to be an unveiled threat that Maradona will demand Bilardo stick his nose into other people’s business, not his.
"If Diego wants me to go," Bilardo said, "then I’ll go."
Arriving in Cordoba for the Ghana match, Maradona quickly made it clear that he wasn’t going to talk about the argument. "Don’t ask me about Bilardo," he warned journalists. "I just sat next to him on the plane coming here, so don’t go asking me about any bullshit, alright?"
In the meantime, Grondona – The Boss – watches on. The AFA president was in Rio this week on business. "I don’t like change," he said, denying that he is thinking of sacking Maradona.
Rather than pointing out that his penchant for continuity has kept him in a job he landed a month before Margaret Thatcher became British prime minister, he chose a somewhat cosier point of reference: "I’ve been married to the same woman for 53 years."
Chez Grondona may be a sanctuary of domestic bliss, but how much longer The Boss’s union with Big Nose and The Ten will last is anyone’s guess.
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Its fun peeking in on the "drama" surrounding Maradona's appointment as Albiceleste coach but lets be honest, Maradona is a mediocre coach for a mediocre team... half the players on that team couldn't defeat the worst Real Madrid side from the last 25 years. Leo Messi is more worried about preserving his legs and getting paid by Barcelona than he is by some pipe dream of winning the World Cup which isn't going to happen.
Jose Pekerman who was a much better coach didn't know what to do with Messi in 2006 and Messi was already a starter for Barcelona back then... What's Diego who is a worst coach going to do with Messi? The comparrisons with Maradona (the player) have been completely unwarranted by the Argentinean & World Media; one goal scored ala Maradona does not make him Maradona, not by a longshot. Another problem seems to be including Carlos Tevez in any long term plans... the guy plays out of control and gambles way too much especially on a National Team, Argentina cannot win with Tevez & Messi in the lineup... the same holds true with Lavezzi, who Maradona has never seen... I'm under the opinion that Lavezzi might work if Messi were buried as a playmaker instead of a striker... but Maradona is more interested in doing the exact opposite from what common sense dictates, which is to Cap Milito & Lavezzi ASAP!
One last thing... I think the Argentinean media is completely out of control regarding Diego Maradona, Peru will be a cake-walk for Argentina & they'll win the game against Uruguay at Montevideo, why? Because Uruguay is coached by an even worst coach than Maradona... Oscar Tabarez who has given up retarded draws at home to the likes of Chile, Ecuador & Venezuela and a historic loss to Brazil in June; Diego's dysfunctional unit will roll in on October 13th and take the win... everyone will forget all about the loss to Brazil & Bolivia, Messi will play in the World Cup and Uruguay will continue it's generational slide into oblivion. Now whether Grondona decides to keep Maradona as the head coach once Maradona qualifies Argentina to the World Cup is a whole different story.
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