TEHRAN - It takes little to fuel
speculation about the career of Argentine football great Diego
Maradona but one nod from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was
enough for a newspaper to report he is line to coach Iran.
"President Ahmadinejad: Maradona might be head coach of
the national team," read the headline splashed across the
front page of Iranian daily Ebtekar on Monday, along with a
large photograph of the World Cup winner.
Rumours have swirled in recent months of Maradona, who
took Argentina to the quarter finals of this year's World Cup,
taking charge of an Iran side which last qualified for the
tournament in 2006.
At a ceremony held to honour medal winners from the recent
Asian Games in China, Ahmadinejad confirmed that Maradona was
due to visit the Islamic Republic at some time in the future.
"When asked about reports of Maradona becoming Iran's new
head coach, he nodded his head," the newspaper reported.
Maradona, 50, is an admirer of Cuban leader Fidel Castro
and Hugo Chavez, the fiery left-wing president of Venezuela
who is a close ally of Iran, and has expressed his admiration
of Ahmadinejad. All three are foes of the United States.
"I've already met Fidel and Chavez... now I need to meet
your president. I'd like to meet Ahmadinejad," he said in 2007
when he sent a signed football shirt as a gift to Iran.
A trip to China last month prompted local speculation that
he might be heading there to coach the national team or a club.
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