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In Argentina, there is one psychologist or psychiatrist for every 1000 people. Most Argentineans think it would take a doctor to understand the team selections of Argentina boss, Diego Maradona. Especially his strange decision to leave out Inter Milan defensive specialists, Esteban Cambiasso and Javier Zanetti, or his decision to include Martin Palermo in a squad already top-heavy with world-class strikers.
But there’s more to El Diego than meets the eye – he did, after all, take over Argentina when they were in deep trouble and dragged them to World Cup qualification. According to Tim Vickery of the BBC, “It is easily forgotten that Maradona inherited a team in crisis – only one win in seven. With more difficult fixtures he won four in eight to get them over the line.” He’s also settled his side into a tactical rhythm as evidenced by their 1-0 win over Germany in March.
Still, regardless of the talent available to Argentina and their status, on paper, as one of the favourites for the World Cup, the spotlight will always be on Maradona, his past and his erratic behaviour, as showcased by his cheeky promise before the World Cup:
“Si ganamos el Mundial me pongo en bol..(me desnudo) y salgo a recorrer el Obelisco”.
“If we win the World Cup, I will run around the Obelisk in Buenos Aires nude.” — Diego Maradona, manager of Argentina quoted by Univision.com on 26 May 2010.
Hopefully, it will be a warm winter day in July should Diego have to keep his promise to show his cheeks to the Argentine faithful. 😉
Steve Amoia is a freelance writer, editor and translator from Washington, D.C. He writes the World Football Commentaries blog. He has written for AC Cugini Scuola Calcio (Italian soccer school), Football Media, Keeper Skool and Soccerlens.