Maradona set to coach Argentina

Diego_maradona_reuters

In one of the most intriguing developments to hit the soccer world in years, Argentine legend Diego Maradona is set to become head coach of Argentina’s national team.

Yes, wow.

Maradona would take over for Alfio Basile, who stepped down after Argentina’s World Cup qualifying loss to Chile on Oct. 16. And if you are wondering, Maradona doesn’t have much coaching experience to speak of and certainly nothing close to national team coaching experience.

What’s my take? I think he’s a brilliant mind who is also very capable of having a meltdown. He will either flourish and become a great manager or will go down in flames. There won’t be any in-between with Diego Maradona. Argentina better hope it’s the former.

What do you think of this crazy turn of events? Think Maradona can spin some magic and bring the best out of Argentina’s supremely talented team? Think Maradona is doomed to fail and will be out of the job before next summer?

Share your thoughts on the news in the comments section below.

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79 Responses to Maradona set to coach Argentina

  1. Drew D (From FL) says:

    Wow.

  2. Alejandro Ruiz says:

    Argentina just got punk’d.

    I read it 1st on the Guardian and I was still hoping it was like British April Fools or something.

    We need to set up a betting pool on the day he gets fired, asap.

  3. kahlva says:

    Um.

    Is the Argentine April Fool’s Day celebrated in October?

  4. kco says:

    Maradona as Argentina Head Coach = link to soccerbyives.net

  5. Eugene says:

    Is he sober? This will be a short experiment

  6. Jamie Z. says:

    BREAKING NEWS: In an effort to maintain their intense rivalry with the Argentines, England are set to sack Fabio Capello and appoint former England star Paul Gascoigne manager.

  7. kswiss says:

    Man, I really do wish him the best, and I hope he repays the faith that Argentina is putting in him. Until he proves otherwise, though, I’m not too optimistic about his chances. Basile’s tenure already proved that it takes a lot more than a collection of really good players to succeed as a national team coach.

  8. doug says:

    They must have went to the John McCain School for Impulse Decisions and Bad Hires because this pick is Palin-esque. Was Diego Simeone in the mix? Former player and an ACTUAL manager. Won the league with River last term and Estudiantes I believe 2 years ago. The one thing you can say is that Argentina isnt waiting for the World Cup to shoot themselves in the foot this time around

  9. doug says:

    Rumor has it Maradona will have to stay seated on the bench and go nowhere near the fields white lines

  10. Blake says:

    Hmm, what if the US hired a player who was overwhemingly the fans’ all-time favorite?

    Ladies and gentlemen, the next coach of the US national team is Kenny Cooper.

  11. Michael K. says:

    Not that they’re on the schedule, but is Diego even allowed in the US nowadays? Wasn’t he refused a visa in the past, thanks to his drug history (and palling around with Fidel wouldn’t expedite the paperwork either)? Say goodbye to any US-Argentina friendlies on our soil, in that case.

    At least for however many weeks his tenure lasts.

  12. Scott A says:

    I’m not gonna mince words. Horrible decision

  13. douglas says:

    if heard him commentate Argentinian league matches a few times and he knows what he is talking about. he isn’t one of those superstar players that can’t articulate or analyze the game.

    Klinsmann got his start at coaching with Germany and that worked out pretty well. Granted, Klinsmann wasn’t a recovering cocaine addict.

  14. wes says:

    This is soooo weird.

  15. martha says:

    HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA there goes Argentinas chances of winning the World Cup. Maradonas a coked out goof who cant stop making stupid comments.

    partHugo Chavez part Hugo Sanchez. I expect him to have the same amount of success at Sanchez

    The Argentina federation must be off their rockers!!!!

    So maradona has his holloween costume ….head coach!!!

    NOW THATS SCARY!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Jason says:

    This has to be a joke. Is Argentina in that much trouble? I get it if he is an assistant or has a special role on the team but head coach?!

  17. supsam says:

    Day 1:

    Maradona still has his job. Amazing….

  18. Joseph D'Hippolito says:

    Argentina’s national religion is Maradona-worship. That’s the only reason why he was chosen. Simeone would have been a much, much better choice; he was, to borrow a cliche, a “pro’s pro.” But Maradona has been lobbying for years to be the national coach.

    Hiring Maradona as a coach makes hiring Ruud Gullit look like hiring Alex Ferguson.

  19. Joamiq says:

    Oh man this is amazing. This is going to be entertaining to watch.

  20. Jamie Z. says:

    It appears Mike’s comment has been removed. Feel free to remove mine as well.

  21. bc says:

    Where do you get that he’s got a “brilliant mind”? I’ve heard a lot of things about Maradona, but nothing remotely approaching that.

  22. smokeminside says:

    I hope this works out, but I agree with those who think this will be a disaster. This guy was jitterbugging in the crowd during the World Cup; does anyone think he’ll be able to mellow out and direct a team from the sidelines? And if it doesn’t work out, his rehab is going to be very, very tenuous.

  23. Isaac says:

    Un-****ing-believeable.

    I think Ives is right Diego it was always something brilliant(goal of the century) or something ridiculous(hand of god)

  24. elmatador says:

    Bad decision. Another Hugo Sanchez on the works. I admire Pele for saying he never wanted to coach to not risk his legacy as a player. Maradona can go from being god in Argentina like Hugo was in Mexico to Nothing, like Ives said “go down in Flames”. But then again he could be a Franz Beckenbauer, only time will tell. For now I think it’s a bad decision, Platini is another great example of protecting his legacy as player who didn’t want to coach.

  25. Ryan says:

    This gets filed under the heading:

    Things that aren’t going to end well.

  26. BlueWhiteLion says:

    Jamie Z, your first comment was hilarious! Your second I have no clue what you are referring to.

    Maradona? Coach? Trainer? Can he? How will he ever handle the stress and the get the boundless energy needed to work for long hours? mayyyyyybeeeeeee . . . . .

  27. alexarmac says:

    He should stick to cocaine and running around with Hugo chavez. I have tremendous respect for the Argentine players. Their skill and toughness is awesome. But Argentinas have a blind spot towards this guy. He is a disgrace.

  28. mig says:

    To the tune of Unforgettable…

    “Inexplicable….that’s what you aaarrrreeee.”

    Somebody once said that you could find a starting 11 on any corner of Buenos Aires. You’d think that the same would hold true for finding an experienced manager.

    As great as Maradona was, I hope it goes well…but wow…what happens if Argentina doesn’t qualify for SA2010? Diego would have to move….somewhere far, far away.

  29. Nick says:

    This is going to be awesome.

  30. Alex says:

    Brilliant idea, they have great line up, great style but nothing worked for them over past few world cups…so why not try something different. They have stars on the field but coaching staff comparing to other tops teams had no spark. So the success of Maradona’s appointment is really comes down to how serious he is about the job and if he will have same desire and passion for coaching and winning as he had as a player. So if he is committed 110%(which is a big question) then it could be great. I believe Klinsman didnt have much experience before taking over Germany and was heavily criticized before he even had a chance to prove him self, but look what he’s done pretty much gave that national team a new life.

  31. Manny F says:

    Mig of course you can find a starting 11 anywhere. It all depends on how good those starting eleven actually are.

    I can’t wait to see this Argentina team in its upcoming qualifiers.

  32. Roberto says:

    maradona has a brilliant soccer mind and I’m dying to see what players he will call up. I read in the paper he said “I wish I had a batistuta in my team” “that he should be born again”

    seriously I think this is a very experimental move one that can be glorious for the team or can sink it… Nothing in between.

    But I do trust him and see that he is the best motivator for Messi,Aguero &co.

    Siiiiiiii Diego

  33. Betinho says:

    Klinsmann did pretty well with no eperience. Maybe he’ll end up on that side rather than the Sanchez side. But my inital reaction was “Whoa”.

  34. Greg says:

    Even most of the reporters here in Buenos Aires are like “What?” Some argued that the players are so great that they don’t need a really great coach only someone who will inpsire them. I don’t buy that arguement. I don’t think he’ll be that bad, but that he will casually resign before the world cup when the really important strategic decisions are needed.

  35. Jacob A. says:

    There’s no middle ground here. Either they take off and fly high, or come crashing down in flames.

  36. roberto says:

    Will Obama allow maradona back in the US…? I’ll vote for him

  37. Felix says:

    I agree with Ives, this will either go down as a brilliant move or a utter disaster. Everyone knows about Maradona’s checkered past and his lack of coaching experience, so to appoint him the manager of the Argentine national team is just mind-boggling. Now to be fair, this national team is stacked in the truest sense of the word, so that will help in this endeavor. Also the fact that the guy is arguably the greatest footballer EVER and I’m assuming a legend in Argentina will help as well in terms of having the respect of his players. I think he’ll guide them to a WCQ and probably a semi-finals exit in South Africa. Regardless of his lack of credentials, in the end, this squad is supremely talented, and could go far with Mickey Mouse as manager.

  38. papa says:

    Can you say “train wreck”. I knew you could.

  39. Ossington Mental Youth says:

    Hes done terribly as a headcoach.

    Christ, makes as much sense as hiring Shearer to manage Newcastle. Just cuz he was a brilliant player does not mean he will make a great coach. Especially cuz hes been in and out of rehab and therapy.

  40. doug says:

    For me the Klinsmann analogy doesnt work. If you ask me he’s not a top manager, at least not yet, and sometimes WAYYY overrated. he finished 3rd at the world cup, on home soil, when they didnt even have to qualiy for it. A little different than leading a team through the qualifying stages which is what Diego will have to do. I think both’s endresult will be the same. Both unemployed come summer 09

  41. Chrös says:

    I’m joining the minority on the positive side here. If the guy was incompetent you have to have at least a little faith in the Argentine federation to not hire him. I really think national team jobs are a whole different situation than with a club. With a team like Argentina, he isn’t expected to go do an overhaul and reform this team; all Maradona has to do to find success is set up 11 superstars and get them to have faith and play with each other. I think the Klinnsman is a perfect parallel here

  42. roberto says:

    its only football people.. Let’s not be judgemental. Its not like they’re voting for a prez. Remember history has shown us that people will vote extremely…. And for 2 terms!! And countries brought down to flames!!

    So when Argentina appoints a national hero as their football coach… Why all that fuzz? Maradona is a legend and a real patriot!!

  43. Jeff says:

    Maybe we can trade Eddie Johnson for Messi.

    Wasn’t Maradona the one who said that he was going to be world class striker? If that is any indication of his true ability to judge talent (and not just him trying to f*&k with the U.S.), Argentina is in trouble!

  44. Michael Vann says:

    Whatever Maradona wants, he gets. People in Argentina bow down to him. If he lobbied to be President it would be his. I don’t like this move by AFA. Diego is nothing more than a side show. He tried his hand at managing before and it was not productive. Argentina has been pretty lackluster thus far in WCQ and they are in need of points. Can Diego reshift the focus and institute a proper game plan? We will see, I guess.

  45. Raghu says:

    Wow. I’m not sure what to think. Is it worth it to take this risk with a team talented enough to win in 2010? Sure, they’re not playing great right now – but they’re playing well enough to qualify.

    Big question is whether or not they stick with Riquelme. He’s one of my favorite players, but he’s old and already slow and is an incresing defensive liability, do you turn the page preparing for 2010 with him or without him?

  46. Greg says:

    To the guy how said have a little faith in AFA:

    To say that you have to have faith in any Argentine institution is a total joke. This is the same country where the clueless president decides to nationalize the local equivilent of 401ks on the spur of the moment over a weekend not even with a cabinet meeting. There is never enough coins here to where shopkeepers yell at the customers for not having change while the government claims the people are hording coins. Seriously, you can’t trust the decision-making capability of anybody here.

  47. roberto says:

    jeff ..moron… Maradona only saw eddie Johnson against Argentina where he actually played well. Do you think he follows the team around and is even interested? You are a hater and pro bush it seems

  48. roberto says:

    greg.. Get out of my country then and come to bailout paradise!!

  49. kpugs says:

    Something tells me he will be a terrible coach, as great as he was as a player. Not sure why, just a hunch.

    Roberto, there is nothing wrong with being pro-anyone. Don’t be that guy that ruins yet another quality discussion site by bringing in politics. I hate that guy. He ruins every discussion by provoking others with political accusations that have absolutely no right in being there. Let’s keep it with the footy.

  50. Roberto says:

    I didn’t start this… Kpugs don’t hate me for that, I was the first one to say this is only football. But people kept on talking about my nation like that guy greg that lives there. I love both countries and my daughter was born here in ny. It just bothers me that a lot of people in here really hate diego and judge him. That’s all no more politics… Promise

  51. Michael F. says:

    Headline should be:

    “Maradona set to coach Agrentina. Ooops! Maradona just fired.”

  52. soccerroo says:

    I hope that He is able to get Argentina to the WC but he is more likely to fall off the wagon and ending up with drug problems again.

    loved Blakes thing that Kenny Cooper should be the new US coach.

  53. Sayerville FC says:

    Roberto wrote:

    ” It just bothers me that a lot of people in here really hate diego and judge him.”

    But, if we like him, as you seem to do, aren’t we also judging him? We’re just coming to a different conclusion as judges.

    Look, no one is denying he was a great player or knows the game. But it also can’t be denied that off the field he’s been a total f**k-up.

    From the myriad cocaine issues to not paying his taxes (and not a little tax money – something like $40 million) to the battles with obesity to the kids out of wedlock and denying paternity, it ain’t exactly the kind of background that implies he’s grounded enough to make good decisions under pressure or has good character.

    Then there’s the fact that he doesn’t have ANY coaching experience.

    Combine Maradona’s sketchy character with his lack of coaching experience and it’s not hating to think this is a questionable, to be polite, coaching move.

  54. milkshake of despair says:

    Television ratings and therefore revenue just went WAY up for upcoming Argentina games. Perhaps that’s the brilliance behind this decision….?

  55. NJ Guy No Longer Stuck in DC says:

    “OK Boys, Shooter I mean Maradona is going to coach the rest of the way. He’ll bring you home.”

  56. markovitch says:

    this is akin to putting Lawrence Taylor in charge of the NFL.

    crackheads, reformed or otherwise, aren’t known for good strategic thinking.

  57. Mark D. says:

    This just in from Headline News … Darryl Strawberry has been named head coach of the US National Team

  58. eric says:

    File this under “I’ll thrilled it’s happening, and glad it’s not my team.”

  59. Bran says:

    I like Diego but he’ll probably end up like Stoichkov and Hagi–a wonderfully talented player who can’t understand or coach the average ones. But, on inspiration alone, maybe he gets a few W’s for the albiceleste.

  60. Jonathan says:

    About as brilliant as appointing Bob Bradley. I’ll bet money on it.

  61. Furball says:

    Now I have a reason to hate Argentina. The man is a disgusting pig. Plus he is friends with Hugo Chavez. I guess he is actually a Communist Pig. Go Brazil!

  62. Ben says:

    Yeah, this is a step backward for Argentina. Diego is a mess.

  63. Tom P says:

    The moral of this story…?

    Lead a crappy life, evade paying your taxes while making millions, live like an oligarch in Castro’s Cuba while the general population lives on less than a dollar a week, throw away your god given gifts on booze, drugs and gluttony and in that Europhile, snobby, arrogant, look down on your fellow South American countries of Argentina you will be treated as a national hero and rewarded with the most important sporting job in the country.

    I am sure there are some rational minded Argentines that are just sick to their stomachs with embarrassment today.

  64. Mark says:

    I’ll echo the sentiments of most posters. Don’t like the move. He was an amazing player, but as a coach he doesn’t seem to have the drive to be a success with all of his other pastimes that people have mentioned. Maybe it works out, but I just don’t see it.

  65. BlueWhiteLion says:

    Sayerville–you nailed it.

    Look, we have NO CLUE how he will be. He could surprise us. I just have no data to convince me he can coach! Or that he is reliable! Maybe he will change. People can. But he is bucking a LOT of history and I have not seen (and I could be ignorant of it) anything that approaches a ‘changed man.” To be steeped in all the crap he has been (not talking about his brilliant playing)–addictions, evasion, etc–you just don’t usually just wake up and stop those habits.

    Klinsmann is not a good analogy–not because, according to another poster, he has not proven himself in qualifying–but because Maradona has a sketchy character, whereas Klinsmann has always been consistent.

  66. Nic D "The Texas 2 Stepper" says:

    He’s Never coached before BUT He did do some blow at Holiday Inn last night!

    SIMPLY WOW!

    I wonder what dirt he has on the AFA?

  67. Tom P says:

    NJ Guy No Longer Stuck in DC –

    very,very funny and creative post. You should be proud of that one.

  68. guillermo says:

    Maradona is a clown.

  69. NJ Guy No Longer Stuck in DC says:

    Tom P – Glad someone got that – just showing my age

  70. SonicDeathMonkey says:

    Finally……a soccer Federation that is a bigger joke than the USSF. Glory be!!!!!!!

  71. SonicDeathMonkey says:

    NJ guy, quoting one of the best sports movies of all time is not showing your age….it shows you know your movies, thats all.

  72. roberto says:

    Ives; please remove this discussion and don’t let anyone give their opinion they are mostly jealous folks who will never enjoy having a player of that level in their natl team.. Because you know what everybody rich& poor in Argentina love him as a player and will forgive anything!!! Geniuses are like that… On another level right?

    beatles miles davis

    john coltrane

    muhamad ali

    Einstein

    Galileo

    maradona etc.you don’t question them… They’re untouchable

  73. roberto says:

    tom p you are a moron too.. Don’t talk about arrogance cause we can get into a big debate about that.. Face to face. Keep your comments limited to football or stay out and don’t talk about things u don’t know about, have a little respect for other countries

  74. Mark says:

    Roberto, I think everyone agrees Maradona is a starter in the All-Time Best XI. Not much room for argument there. Maybe it’s because you grew up with him as a hero and most who post did not, but I, and most posters, just don’t see how having him become coach for your Nats is a good thing with his past history outside of soccer. It’s rare in any sport that a superstar player, and I’m talking superstar, not just a good player, ever makes a good coach. Add to that Maradona’s self destructive behavior, and that the fact he has little coaching experience, and it becomes a head scratcher.

    I’m a fairly optimistic guy, so hopefully we’re all wrong and he’s turned over a new leaf. But until he puts up some wins and shows he’s turned a corner, count me amongst the doubters.

  75. roberto says:

    mark …you are absolutely right, he has to prove it. I just didn’t like that other disrespectful posters out there who are talking BS about the way things are in Argentina. We all have out domestic problems and this is a football only topic, nor personal, not about the past. I have my doubts too but we’ ll never find out if we don’t even try… Argentina and many other countries have had way too many proper & overeducated coaches that have given us nothing but boring loosing football… I’m ready for a change and hope it will be “revolutionary”

    if not there’s other coaches, no big drama

  76. Tom P says:

    Roberto- if you weren’t so stereotypical it would be fun to take you under the bus for being such an idiot.

    Get some therapy OR join a positive self esteem class or better yet just disappear under a rock.

    People on this board have tried to appease you, understand you and in some cases please you because they are afraid of being politically incorrect.

    I call you out for what you are – a over sensitive person of Latin origin with very thin skin and an inability of being rational because of that sad fact.

    Piss off because nothing I wrote wasn’t 100% correct and factual for anyone who has lived in South America which I have for 15 of the last 20 years.

    MARADONNA IS A FAT PIG WHO WOULD OF MADE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE BY OVER DOSING THE DAY HE GOT KICKED OUT OF THE 1994 WC.

  77. SonicDeathMonkey says:

    Did somebody compare Maradona to Einstein and Galileo? Seriously?

  78. Jonathan says:

    Tom P is a “h8er”. Just accept the fact there are countries out there where 3rd tier players would be superstars and “saviors” in some countries.

  79. Tom P says:

    Jonathan

    You are 100% right. I hate people who throw away their god given talents, step all over the rules and laws the rest of us most uphold and then get put up on a pedestal and get rewarded for it.

    Yep- I’m a real menace to society