In the aftermath of Argentina’s elimination from the 2018 World Cup, soccer legend Diego Maradona offered to coach the Argentine National Team “for free.”
“People think I am happy, but my heart is heavy,” Maradona had stated after Argentina’s elimination. “I feel really bad that everything we built with so much effort we destroyed so easily.”
Maradona is still on a break from his work with Dinamo Brest, the Belarusian club that hired him as their president to help develop the institution’s soccer program. During his time off, which Maradona has enjoyed since his return from Russia, the former player has been spotted reuniting with old friends and attending concerts, in addition to receiving a number of medical check-ups after his erratic behavior and brief medical treatment during the World Cup.
He has also reiterated his interest in managing Argentina’s national team. The spot, which Lionel Scaloni currently holds as interim director, became vacant after Jorge Sampaoli’s dismissal. Sampaoli had initially earned esteem as the head of Chile’s national team in 2012, beating Argentina in the finals and leading Chile to victory in its first-ever Copa América title. In May 2017 he was declared the new coach of the Argentine national team, but suffered heavy criticism during the World Cup, as many blamed his lineup for Argentina’s shoddy defense and early elimination.
On Monday, Maradona took advantage of Sampaoli’s departure to double down on his desire to assume the role. It would not be Maradona’s first time doing so, however. He previously held the charge from 2008 to 2010, until the Argentine team was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the 2010 World Cup. Maradona expressed his desire through a long-winded Instagram post, in which he also criticized Fox Sports journalist Diego Diego Chavo Fucks for not including him in his list of viable candidates for the position.
Acá, en casa, recuperándome de dos operaciones que tuve con mi dentista, el Dr. Braverman, para poder empezar a ver jugadores para mi equipo, el Dinamo Brest. La verdad es que el mercado se disparó y yo no puedo jugar con la plata de los dirigentes, y mucho menos con este dolor en la boca. Así que quiero recuperarme y ponerme 10 puntos. Por esto es que no estoy yendo a los programas de TV, que me invitan, y estoy hablando por las redes sociales. Con respecto a la selección argentina, quiero decir que me jode que algunos periodistas no me incluyan entre los posibles técnicos. Mientras me operaban, escuchaba al Chavo Fucks, por ejemplo, y ni siquiera me nombró entre los posibles candidatos. Yo me acuerdo de sus comienzos, cuando yo todavía jugaba, y pareciera que ahora él ya no me conociera. Y lamento que tampoco me tengan en cuenta algunos diarios argentinos, que sí hablan de otros ex técnicos de la selección, pero no de mí. Pero bueno, éste es el periodismo deportivo que tenemos los argentinos. De todas maneras yo tengo un contrato de 3 años, y el Dínamo tiene mi palabra. Aunque yo por la selección doy la vida.
Some of the phrases from the post, which Maradona added as the caption of a photo of himself sitting on his couch and looking at the camera, include the following:
“I’m here, at home, recovering from the two recent dental operations I had, so I can be ready to start seeing players for my team, Dinamo Brest.”
“With respect to the Argentine national team, I want to say that it bothers me greatly that some journalists have not bothered to include me among the possible directors. While they were operating on me, I listened to Chavo Fucks on the radio, for example, and he did not even mention me among the possible candidates. I remember his beginnings [as a journalist], when I was still playing, and it seems now that he hasn’t ever heard of me.”
“I also regret that a number of Argentine newspapers have not taken me into account either, that they do talk about other ex-directors of the national team as options, but not about me. But, well, this is the sports journalism that you get in Argentina.”
“In any case, I have a three-year contract, and Dinamo has my word. Still, for the national team I would give my life.”