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Page last updated at 21:02 GMT, Tuesday, 27 July 2010 22:02 UK

Diego Maradona's tenure as Argentina coach ends

Argentine coach Diego Maradona

How Maradona inspired a nation

Diego Maradona's reign as Argentina coach has ended, the Argentine Football Association (AFA) has confirmed.

Maradona, 49, admitted he wanted to stay in the job ahead of a meeting with AFA president Julio Grondona on Monday.

But, after Maradona rejected demands to change his backroom team, the AFA voted not to renew his deal and made under-20 coach Sergio Batista caretaker boss.

Argentina crashed out of the 2010 World Cup finals at the quarter-final stage, where they lost 4-0 to Germany.

Grondona said: "It is difficult to agree. The hardest difference to agree on was changing some of Diego's staff.

There was no evaluation, no review, no conclusions. These are the things you have to think about in order to think about the future

AFA general secretary Jose Luis Meiszner

"Nobody has been sacked. A contract has not been extended because the conditions were not suitable.

"When you cannot agree with somebody you love, you are not happy at all.

"I always want to talk to him [Maradona], but sometimes it is difficult because this is not the best moment."

However, AFA general secretary Jose Luis Meiszner was less saddened by the situation, telling cable channel C5N: "I would be a hypocrite if I didn't admit there was a general disliking of several aspects of the cycle that ended with the World Cup.

"We did not see any intention to show humility, to say that things should have been done better.

"There was no evaluation, no review, no conclusions. These are the things you have to think about in order to think about the future."

Estudiantes coach Alejandro Sabella, who was Daniel Passarella's assistant at the 1998 World Cup, Racing Club boss Miguel Angel Rosso and Batista have all been suggested as potential successors to Maradona, but Grondona says that no candidates were yet in the frame for the full-time role.

"We have time to choose the technical staff," he said. "We have not thought about anybody yet.

"Batista is a member of the staff of this body so he will obviously fill the place as long as is needed."

Batista played in midfield alongside Maradona in the 1986 World Cup final and managed Argentina to gold at the 2008 Olympics.

He will pick the squad for the country's next game against the Republic of Ireland on 11 August at Dublin's Aviva Stadium - the first international football match at the redeveloped Lansdowne Road site.


Before the pair's two-hour meeting on Monday, Grondona stated he was hopeful a new four-year deal could be agreed with Maradona.

But while Maradona was keen to continue in the job, he also declared he would refuse to renew his contract, which ended after the defeat to Germany in Cape Town, if the AFA dismissed even one of his staff.

"If they touch a hair of one of my guys, even if it's the masseur or the kitman, I'm going," he told El Show del Futbol on America TV.

Grondona had already signalled his desire for backroom changes after admitting the AFA "had lots of problems" with one of Maradona's assistants, former Argentina defender Oscar Ruggeri.

Grondona's demand, then, for the replacement of a number of assistants - one of whom was believed to be Maradona's close friend Alejandro Mancuso - was, unsurprisingly, snubbed by the football legend.

Although appearing defensively frail at times, Maradona's side topped Group B in South Africa with victories over Nigeria, South Korea and Greece.

They then overcame Mexico 3-1 to reach the quarter-finals.

But the emphatic nature of their exit at the hands of the Germans gave fresh ammunition to the critics of Maradona's tenure, which included a fraught qualification campaign.

Since taking the job in November 2008, Maradona, considered by many as the greatest footballer in history, won eight and lost seven of his 15 games in charge of La Albiceleste.

Diego Maradona

Maverick Maradona's sideline exploits

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see also
Maradona backed to stay as coach
22 Jul 10 |  Football
Argentina offer Maradona new deal
15 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Highlights - Argentina 0-4 Germany
03 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Sad Maradona considering future
04 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Argentine journalists on Maradona
28 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
How Maradona inspired a nation
01 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010

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