If this week wasn’t stressful enough for Argentina Maradona has made it all about him by asking for access to the players. Back in his homeland, such is his status they hang on his every word. They view him as God but I never thought he actually believed he had some kind of higher power.
Like when Obama rang Tim Howard up, or Nelson Mendela told his rugby team go win the World Cup for South Africa, apparently Maradona is so inspirational that 5 minutes with him in the canteen he can turn round their fortunes.
It would be fine if that was his intention, deluded – but at least it be would be coming from a good place. It’s not as if he’s found a master plan, a tactical idea that everyone needs to hear.
Instead, going off what he’s said to local radio and TV, he wants to tell the players days before a must-win game, how bad their current boss is – and how he should never of been hired. The fact he can say this in public and still wonder if he will get an invite shows his lack of awareness.
How that helps beat Nigeria is a mystery. In fact let this man anywhere near the hotel he will probably lead a strike to get himself re-employed.
Yes, Maradona himself has had a try at managing his country. Like the current regime he nearly made a mess of qualification, losing 6-1 to Bolivia and only advancing with a game to spare, yet he can’t see the irony of vocally criticising today’s squad for similar results.
He was humiliated in South Africa after losing 4-0 to Germany. Every press conference was met with him ridiculing pundits for questioning his credentials. So if anyone should sympathise the pressure Sampaoli is going through it should be him. He deserves more respect then this and should get on the first plane out of Russia if Maradona gets anywhere near his players. Heck get a restraining order out on him!
Messi does not need this either. He Is already growing with the comparisons with Maradona, this is the one month where he could do with keeping a distance. Yet would it shock you if somehow Maradona ends up getting his wish. It would sum up the South Americans campaign in a nutshell..