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Maradona’s goal – that Argentina win World Cup


Glasgow : New Argentina coach Diego Maradona has said in no uncertain terms that his goal is to win the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. He added that he will seek to avoid controversy with the high officials of world football.

“The idea is to come first (in the World Cup), not to be among the top four. I don’t like that thing about the top four at all,” Maradona told reporters here Tuesday.

The former Argentine football legend is set to make his debut as national team coach Wednesday, in a friendly game against Scotland.

Maradona said he plans to make many changes in the Argentina team, and to push through his vision of the game.

“There will obviously be many changes. But we will have to fiddle little by little. Still, there will be changes in tactical aspects, and also changes in people.”

Maradona’s self-declared goal is to make the player “feel well, pampered, in the national team, happy to defend the national team jersey”.

He only mentioned by name one of Argentina’s players, the talented Barcelona striker Lionel Messi.

“He is going to have freedom, full freedom to play, to give us Argentines satisfaction. Let him be a passer, let him take the team forward, let him lead the team.”

In a crowded press conference with several hundred reporters from around the world, Maradona appeared serene, used clear concepts and short sentences and generally avoided controversy.

However, he reacted when one British reporter asked him how he would feel if his team was eliminated from a World Cup with a goal scored with a hand – an obvious reference to Maradona’s “hand of god” goal against England in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.

“Let me remind you that England won a final against Germany with a goal that was not such. And the whole world saw that. Despite the protests, history did not change. That is why I cannot be judged in any way,” Maradona said, with reference to the 1966 World Cup final, in which England were awarded a doubtful goal.

Following a history of clashes with the bosses of world football, Maradona stressed that he will seek to avoid controversy.

“I will not go into controversy. Neither with (FIFA president Joseph) Blatter nor with (UEFA boss Michel) Platini, nor with anyone else. We have to tone things down. As the national team coach, I have to think a lot about my team.”

At several stages during the conference, Maradona noted that the designation to coach Argentina was “a dream.”

“I needed the national team and I believe the national team needed a new guide. Here I am, enjoying myself so, so much to be by the side of the players, seeking to enter their hearts,” he stressed. “I always liked challenges.”