Interesting news today from Argentina where it seems that Diego Maradona, the greatest player of all time (yes, he was better than Pele), looks set become the manager of the national team. After their disappointing showing at the last World Cup Jose Pekerman resigned and was replaced by Alfio Basile. He too hasn’t lived up to expectations, firstly failing to win the 2007 Copa America after being destroyed in the final by Brazil, and more recently struggling in Argetina’s qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup. They currently lie 3rd, having already lost away to Colombia and then Chile a couple of weeks ago. Whilst they should be ok as the top four qualify automatically, changes were obviously needed.
Maradona is an interesting choice. Though he has virtually no coaching experience his opinion is still held in high regard across Argentina. At the last World Cup, Jurgen Klinsmann showed you don’t need to have 20 years of experience under your belt to succeed in international (or indeed club) management. Also, who better to motivate this generation of Argentinian players, many who grew up wanting to be Maradona.
This leads me to the side point of how many Argentinian players are routinely labelled as “the new Maradona”. Any modicum of attacking talent (and lack of height) instantly leads a nation’s hopes to be pinned on their shoulders. I guess the lack of international success since his retirement (a couple of Copa America finals aside) makes that inevitable. The question is always who can lead them back to the glory of 1986? Lionel Messi appears to be the one who finally succeed where so many have failed before him but like New Zealand in Rugby, Argentina always flatter to deceive when it matters most.
So, just for fun here is a team of new Maradonas who are all still playing and thus could be selected by the orginal in his new regime. We’ve gone for a rather attacking 1-1-3-1-4 formation…