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Monday, 27 May, 2002, 12:50 GMT 13:50 UK

Ortega fills Maradona's shirt

Ariel Ortega will wear the number 10 for Argentina after Fifa banned them from retiring the shirt in honour of Diego Maradona.

But Maradona will be denied the opportunity of watching Ortega fill his shirt after he was barred from entering Japan for having a drug conviction against him.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter said the world governing body had rejected Argentina's plan to dispense with the number 10 shirt.

" Sepp Blatter does not have the authority to decide which player uses which number "
Argentina's press officer Coco Ventura

Argentina's initial team list presented to Fifa numbered one to 24, without a number 10, and with Ortega listed for the number 23 shirt.

Blatter suggested that third-choice goalkeeper Roberto Bonano should fill the number 10 shirt, accompanied by a side-wipe at Maradona's Hand-of-God goal against England in the 1986 tournament: "This time Argentina's number 10 would be able to use his hands."

But this was rejected by Argentina, whose press officer Coc Ventura said: "Blatter does not have the authority to decide which player uses which number.

"That's down to the Argentine Football Association."

Argentina's revised list showed Ortega in the contentious number 10 shirt, with Bonano sporting 23.

Maradona's former Italian club Napoli said they would not use the number 10 shirt again out of repsect.


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