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Last Updated: Monday, 3 July 2006, 14:47 GMT 15:47 UK
Maradona coy about Argentina role
Diego Maradona
Maradona is keeping an open mind over becoming Argentina coach
Argentina legend Diego Maradona has not ruled out the possibility of taking charge of the national football team.

"I will neither step aside nor put forward my candidature," Maradona told cable broadcaster TyC Sports.

"Maybe I will never become coach of the national team as I don't know if that would go down well with the powers that be. I am not under any illusions."

Jose Pekerman quit after the World Cup quarter-final loss to Germany, but his resignation has not yet been accepted.

Polls published by major newspapers showed a majority of Argentina fans wanted Pekerman to stay in his post, despite the penalty shoot-out loss to Germany.

We should have been beaten Germany as Germany is not much better than Ivory Coast

Diego Maradona
Opinion polls in Argentina show there is support for Maradona, although the firm favourite is Carlos Bianchi, the former coach of Boca Juniors who recently ended an unsuccessful stint at Atletico Madrid.

Pekerman led Argentina to under-20 world titles in 1995, 1997 and 2001, and the 56-year-old is credited with the blooding of a raft of young stars, including Barcelona forward Lionel Messi.

At a news conference in Buenos Aires, Pekerman defended his decision to substitute playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme after 72 minutes.

"I stand by my decision - we were 10 minutes away from the semi-final," Pekerman said.

"As we didn't manage it I maintain that the page is turned.

"I said we had to play seven games and we didn't manage it."

Pekerman added: "He had an excellent World Cup. Riquelme did not score goals but set them up."

Maradona, meanwhile, insisted that Argentina should have beaten the hosts.

"That Argentina played well doesn't mean they are the best," he said.

"But we should have been beaten Germany as we did Ivory Coast and Serbia and Montenegro as Germany is not much better than Ivory Coast."

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