Emotional Maradona and the last chance saloon

October 13, 2009

The above picture was the defining image of Argentina’s dramatic 2-1 victory over Peru in the rain on Saturday, and perhaps Diego Maradona’s tenure as national team coach to date.

For many in Argentina, Maradona’s reactions are indicative of an approach to the job that is too emotional.

Whatever he is really thinking, he often looks slightly bemused on the touchline when his team are not in control. He has been criticised for being unable to make the right substitutions, though he did pull a rabbit out of the hat with the introduction of mircale maker Martin Palermo, a striker who has been dubbed “the goal optimist”.

When Maradona celebrates he is like any fan and while his dive on to the sodden pitch after Palermo’s winner made for great pictures, the sports talk shows have been asking whether it was the image the national team manager should be giving.

The always elegant Cesar Luis Menotti, the coach who wrought a sea change in how Argentina’s national team is run when he took charge in 1974 and set the tone for two World Cup victories, is probably having nightmares watching the present side.

Yet here they are, one win away form clinching a place at the World Cup finals.

Might emotional Maradona yet have the last laugh?

PHOTO: Diego Maradona celebrates Argentineas winning goal in their World Cup qualifier against Peru in Buenos Aires, October 10, 2009. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci


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Posted by Emotional Maradona and the last chance saloon – Posted In Argentina | Soccer News Info – Soccer News Info | Report as abusive

I am not a big Maradona fan, but actually this photo kind of endears him to me. Very different from the bling bling suit wearing egotistic he usually presents himself as at least it shows he is still passionate about the team he manages. The fact is it would be almost unthinkable for Argentina to not be in Johannesburg, especially Lionel Messi.

Posted by Melanie | Report as abusive

Rex, greetings from an ex Reuters colleague. Even if Argentina clinches a spot in the World Cup, they don’t deserve to go. They have probably the world’s best pack of players, but they do not have a team. And Diego is a lousy coach.

Posted by Ricardo | Report as abusive

So often big name teams have a string of players but never play as a team. England, Argentina & Italy are classic examples of how the artist in this case a manager fails to use the right colours on palette to a potential master piece trying to fit in all the superstars into a starting eleven. It is irrelevant if Argentina deserve to be in South Africa or not. If they get the results than they deserve it. Argentina for me since 1990 have been a great mystery & a real sign how ruthless a cup competition is because they have had talented side’s competing but they just cannot get it right. In the last World Cup they were by far the most dangerous team let down by poor decisions by a coach against Germany substituting Riquelme after going ahead and wanting to sit on your laurels.

On the subject of Maradona emotions. He is just that emotion. Maybe not the most pragmatic and ruthless manager one finds, but are we not judging him in haste. After all the guy has no experience he was brought in as a replacement to Alfio Basile so he could galvanise a group of talented players into a team as he done on so many times as a player. It was a desperate situation & a desperate move was made maybe not the right one but when called he responded to his country’s hour of need. So it has not worked out in that manner, but it will be Diego Maradona win lose or draw tonight that will be made the scapegoat because the knifes are out for a genius who for three decades as many lovers and enemies.

Posted by Jag | Report as abusive