Madness and magic from Maradona’s motherland
"One less problem," wrote Olé yesterday, next to a photo of a frowning Maradona.
Brilliant! Let's guess:
The full-back situation has been fixed! Messi has publicly apologised for only giving his all when wearing the blue and white, but from now on in he’s 100 percent one of the boys! Pele has been handed a gagging order!
Defensive black holes, a misfiring World Player of the Year and a high-profile dissenting voice from Brazil are just some of the problems facing Diego Maradona, but amidst the hulabaloo of announcing another squad – will he add to the 102 call-ups so far? – there was some under-reported great news.
Maradona will avoid trial.
In 2006, someone was said to have ploughed his car into a telephone cabin in the small hours and, in doing so, supposedly injured a couple.
Suddenly imagining their names in the headlines, and fantasising about a life of luxury after selling their story – The Couple That Maradona Ran Over – they promptly took the matter further.
As hard as their lawyers tried, though, it never reached the courts.
Things were settled outside the law’s jurisdiction to the tune of £1,300 each, according to Olé.
So it is that the couple fail to get their 15 minutes, but more importantly on the scale of things, Maradona avoids a court appearance and the potential punitive ramifications that criminal proceedings involve.
Of course, as Olé’s headline makes clear, there are still plenty of other problems to be dealt with.
After trying out 102 players, Maradona has to whittle it down to a paltry 23 in time for the World Cup.
So it is that the 20-man squad announced to face Germany at the beginning of March is widely seen as the best clue yet as to who will be making the trip to South Africa this summer.
Maradona says the squad is 50 percent decided, and that he has told those who are going – but for those in this latest squad, it’s essentially a place in the final 23 that’s there to be lost.
For Messrs Samuel, Burdisso, Diego Milito, Pastore and Dátolo, this is excellent news.
For Messrs Banega, Zanetti, Zabaleta, Aimar, Cambiasso and Lavezzi, this is not.
There’s a real chance that this squad, plus Martín Palermo, Maxi Rodriguez and Estudiantes defender Marcos Angeleri, is the group that Maradona will take with him to set up camp in Pretoria this summer.
This being Maradona, however, means anything is possible.
Quizzed as to whether having tried out 102 players was productive, he snapped "I’ll try out 150 players if I need to."
"How many goals would a player like Franco Jara need to score [against Jamaica in a recent friendly] to leapfrog Messi, Higuaín and Tevez?" asked one columnist.
"Three? Four? Five?"
Perhaps the reason for the infamous 102 call-ups lies elsewhere.
"Jara was sold to Benfica for €7 million a week after playing [for Argentina] against Costa Rica," pointed out the local paper Crítica.
"How much did his goal in that game elevate his price tag?"
After the friendly with Panamá last May, eight players from that Argentina side earned transfers abroad.
"The moves were probably all going to go ahead anyway," continued Crítica, arguing that to be called up in the first place they must be amongst the best in the country anyway.
"But having played for the national team is a big plus when it comes to negotiating a move."
Maybe there's more that meets the eye with the 102 call-ups, maybe not.
Whatever the truth, Maradona has little time to decide on the 23 men who will defend the Albiceleste in South Africa.
"The national team is like a dirty Rolls Royce," said Maradona when he took over as coach.
If he can’t clean it up in time, will watching Argentina at the World Cup be car-crash TV?
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The blue and red, you mean.
Forgive me for sounding ignorant, but you mean car-crash tv as in the term "train-wreck?" --- I know you're trying to work Maradona's car crash woes... but you failed to tie it up. Do you mean the squad is underperforming so much that they're like a train-wreck? I mean to me that term applies to someone like Favor Flav (Public Enemy fame)...someone so clueless about the reasons why they are famous---Argentina are simply a mismanaged squad with way too many players to decide on. There's a case for taking Diego Milito and Palermo, a lot of the problems that Maradona faces (& I don't even like him that much) is that most of these players in Europe are over-rated (Lavezzi comes to mind) which was also the case for Saviola. Messi's problems on the NT is that Diego doesn't play him as a ball distributor which is what people are expecting since he's the player that remind most of "Maradona 86"----Messi is still played on the right flank. The true debate would be whether Ever Banega should be capped to play as the offensive distributor Argentina has been missing since Riqueleme quit the NT. There may be petty jeolousies among these players as well (Tevez, Messi, Lavezzi) which may be fractioning the NT. I think Maradona's Argentina will have a decent World Cup without being anything special, but they are far from being a train-wreck team (if that is indeed what you meant by the car-crash comment).
@gt607 - absolutely right, typo there, for 'only' it should be 'not'
@yoruga - exacto. you say tomato, I say tomato. that doesn't work, but you get the idea. train wreck, car crash, same same.
For now it looks like Pastore has the chance to be the midfield playmaker (after Verón), but Banega may be given an opportunity. Hard to leave him out right nowe.
Oh, and Maradona really likes Lavezzi for his character more than his goals...
Its all a cunning ruse: struggle to qualify; appear to be the worst run team in the world; have a lunatic for a manager; pick the wrong players; play the wrong formation; etc, etc.
Think on it… last three Wcs Argentina have been favourites and messed it up, one way or another. This time only my cat is giving them any chance of winning. No pressure to eat away at them. No expectations to choke on.
Mark my words: They are going to win it. A blindside run from nowhere, taking out Brazil on the way (or is that Bolt[on]zil these days) before sneaking past Spain in the best final ever (5-4)!
Obviously you have heard from the Clarin monopoly media that Diego gets part of the players "transferencia" money.
Right, greed was missing in the endless list of reasons why Maradona shouldn't be there. Or anywhere.
According to the main media holding, this villero, drogadicto, Kirchnerista, big mouthed little man, gives Argentina a bad image.
Que la sigan chupando!
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