Soccer

Maradona blames Batista

2011-07-20 08:50
Diego Maradona (AP)

Buenos Aires - Diego Maradona has chided his successor as Argentina's national team coach, saying if he were Sergio Batista he "would stay home" and not venture outside.

Maradona spoke publicly for the first since Argentina was knocked out of the Copa America quarter-finals, warning in a Tuesday radio interview that Lionel Messi and other top players could get frustrated with losing and stop playing for the national team.

He also criticised Julio Grondona, the president of the Argentine Football Association, blaming him for many of the problems that surround Argentina's national team.

"If I had won only one game in the Copa America, I would have quit," Maradona said.

Argentina defeated an inexperienced Costa Rica team in the Copa America, drew two other matches and was beaten by Uruguay in the quarter-finals.

By comparison, Maradona won four of five matches in the 2010 World Cup -against Nigeria, South Korea, Greece and Mexico - before losing 4-0 to Germany in the quarter-finals.

Grondona dismissed Maradona after the World Cup, partly because the famous Argentine star declined to fire some of his assistant coaches.

"I can't talk a lot about (the Copa America) because I didn't see the games." Maradona said. "When the players come on the field, it's like a knife being twisted inside me."

He said from the little he knew of the matches, players were "1 000 percent happier" playing for him than Batista.

He said his "biggest fear" was that Messi and other top players "would get bored and not want to come and wear the Argentina shirt."

Maradona also continued his running battle with Grondona.

"Here Don Julio (Grondona) does what he wants, and if they don't realize he's doing a bad job, what can I do?" Maradona said. "God help them."

He also rejected any suggestion he would return as Argentina coach. He has signed to coach Dubai team Al Wasl.

"I had to go to Dubai to find a job, unfortunately far from my country," Maradona said.

Read more on:    diego maradona  |  sergio batista
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