Rediff.com  » Sports » Soccer Extras: Maradona to coach Argentine club

Soccer Extras: Maradona to coach Argentine club

September 06, 2019 10:14 IST

Maradona, who was an erratic and brilliant striker and is widely considered to be one of the greatest players of all time, most recently coached in Mexico, where he led second division side Dorados of Sinaloa to two unsuccessful playoff appearances.

IMAGE: Maradona, who was an erratic and brilliant striker and is widely considered to be one of the greatest players of all time, most recently coached in Mexico, where he led second division side Dorados of Sinaloa to two unsuccessful playoff appearances. Photograph: PTI/File

World Cup winner Diego Maradona has signed a deal with Argentine side Gimnasia y Esgrima, returning to coach in his homeland for the first time since 2010.

"Star of world football, Diego Armando Maradona, has signed his name and is the new coach of Gimnasia," the club said in a short statement on Thursday. "The deal runs until the end of the current season."

 

Maradona, who was an erratic and brilliant striker and is widely considered to be one of the greatest players of all time, most recently coached in Mexico, where he led second division side Dorados of Sinaloa to two unsuccessful playoff appearances.

His new team, from the city of La Plata just outside Buenos Aires, was formed in 1887 and claims to be the oldest professional football club in the Americas.

Known as El Lobo or The Wolf, they have won just one professional title, the Copa Centenario, in 1993.

They currently sit at the bottom of the first division table, with one point from five matches.

"Finally it's now official," Maradona wrote on Instagram.

"I am very happy to be the new coach of @gimnasia_oficial."

"I want to thank the president Gabriel Pellegrino for this opportunity and say to all the fans that we are going to work with our hearts and souls for The Wolf."

Maradona’s return was eagerly expected and jubilant fans turned up at the club on Thursday to welcome him.

It marks a working return to his homeland for the first time in almost a decade, following a spell in charge of the national side between 2008 and 2010. He also had stints as club coach at Mandiyu and Racing in the 1990s.

The 58-year-old won the World Cup as a player with Argentina in 1986 but has had frequent hospital treatment over the years, often due to his extravagant lifestyle.

Maradona was taken into hospital in 2004 with severe heart and respiratory problems linked to cocaine use. He later underwent drug rehabilitation in Cuba and Argentina before a stomach-stapling operation in 2005 helped him lose weight.

He resigned from the Dorados in June, citing the need for operations on his knee and shoulder.

Argentina draw 0-0 with Chile in combative friendly

Argentine and Chile renewed their combative rivalry in Los Angeles on Thursday in a game that was peppered with 10 yellow cards but with both teams missing key players and fielding experimental lineups neither was able to break a 0-0 deadlock.

Argentina were without the rested Sergio Aguero as well as Lionel Messi, who was banned in August from international matches for three months after making derogatory comments about South American soccer officials during the Copa America.

But they were still the more threatening team for most of the match, particularly down the right flank, where Paulo Dybala and Lautaro Martinez combined well in front of a sparse crowd at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

Dybala saw one long-range shot flash wide after 11 minutes and then midway through the first half he forced Claudio Bravo into a good save after fine set up work on the edge of the box.

At the other end, Augustin Marchesin parried a shot from Charles Aranguiz wide shortly before half time and then Eduardo Vargas blazed Chile's best chance over the bar 10 minutes into the second half.

Argentine defender Lucas Martinez Quarta almost capped a dream debut but his header smacked off the bar with five minutes remaining.

The South American rivals have played several high tension matches in recent years, most recently in July's bad-tempered third-place Copa America playoff where both Gary Medel and Messi were sent off.

Despite being a friendly, Thursday's match produced 10 yellow cards, while Spurs midfielder Giovani Lo Celso limped off early in the second half after being on the end of a nasty stamp by Aranguiz.

Argentina now play Mexico in San Antonio on Tuesday, while Chile take on Honduras in San Pedro Sula the same day.

Court frees famous Russian soccer players jailed for attacks - news agencies

A Russian court on Friday ordered the release on parole of two famous Russian soccer players jailed for their involvement in a pair of violent attacks last year, Russian news agencies reported on Friday.

Alexander Kokorin and Pavel Mamayev, who both played in Russia’s top league and used to play for their country, apologised after being caught on CCTV last year taking part in two violent assaults in Moscow.

The two players were present at both incidents after celebrating a decade of friendship in a Moscow strip club where they said they had been drinking beer.

In May, Kokorin was sentenced to 18 months in jail, while Mamayev was ordered to serve 17 months after months of hearings that were widely covered by Russian state media.

Some Kremlin critics said their harsh treatment and public shaming after an outcry was used to divert attention from bigger problems in the country, including an unpopular measure to increase the pension age.

The Moscow court ordered them to be freed on parole on Sept. 17, Russian news agencies cited their lawyer as saying.

Source: source
© Copyright 2019 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.
SHARE THIS STORYCOMMENT