Argentina · Managers · World Cup 2010

Maradona vs. Bilardo

Diego was back in the headlines today in Argentina, and it looks like the honeymoon with Carlos Bilardo is over.

“Bilardo has to be with Grondona, on top (in the office) in a suit and tie. With the team it has to be the three of us (meaning himself with Lemme and Mancuso, Maradona’s assistants). The tactics against Uruguay were put together by me.”
http://www.canchallena.com/1189046-maradona-hablo-de-todo-en-bilardo-el-tecnico-sobrepasa-al-manager (translation is mine)

Carlos Bilardo, former manager of the World Cup-winning 1986 side and the finalist 1990 side for Argentina, was appointed into some indefinite Team Manager/Director role, with Maradona being appointed on-the-pitch manager (technical director, as the position is termed in Argentina). The concept being that Bilardo could provide support to the inexperience Maradona.

From Diego’s point-of-view, however, he has been anything but supportive.

To top it all off, Argentina’s highly defensive play against Uruguay (entirely justified in the end, as Argentina needed just the point to qualify directly) smacked of Bilardo’s tactics as a manager. Very conservative, tight at the back, look for the counter attack or a dead-ball opportunity up front. Very unlike Diego, who claims to want wide-open football.

I still wonder. Is this a power play by Maradona to get full control? And will it mean that he’ll leave if he loses out? Or is he setting up some excuses for himself in case he doesn’t do well in the Cup (claiming he always wanted to manage properly, but wasn’t allowed)?

Now FIFA President Sepp Blatter is in the mix, threatening to suspend Maradona long enough to keep him out of the World Cup.

It all seems to be building up to Maradona agreeing to abandon the post with his pride intact, but why do I still get the feeling that come June of next year, he’ll still be managing the team in South Africa.

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