x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Diego Maradona the perfect man for the job

It turns out, we just like having Diego Maradona around.

Diego Maradona says he will 'spare no efforts in helping the DSC to develop sports'. Mike Young / The National
Diego Maradona says he will 'spare no efforts in helping the DSC to develop sports'. Mike Young / The National

It turns out, we just like having Diego Maradona around.

And why not? He is famous. He is amusing. He says provocative things. Unlike the rest of us, he is never, ever dull.

You know that old parlour game? If you could invite three people from history to a dinner party, who would they be? In the UAE, two of those are up for discussion. The third would be El Diego.

The magnitude of his popularity here was hammered home when Al Wasl, the Dubai side Maradona coached in the 2011/12 Pro League season, played an away game at Al Wahda.

We do not expect fans to fete a visiting coach, but at Wahda they hung a banner which read: "Maradona - the legend. Welcome to our country and stadium. You are the best ever. We all love you too much".

His new role, "honorary ambassador of sports" for the Dubai Sports Council is a perfect match of "man" to "job". This ambassador can attract a crowd simply by walking down the street and leave them captivated as he speaks a language they don't understand.

We wonder, however, if his one-year contract has an "out" clause that allows him to return to coaching. That itch of his may not have gone away, given that his Wasl team failed to secure a trophy last season and he has yet to win anything as a coach.

In a month or two, several Pro League teams will be looking for a new man in charge, and Maradona's phone will begin ringing.

Here's hoping he says no. He will have far too many dinner parties, real or fantastical, at which he would be an honoured guest. We all love him too much.

sports@thenational.ae

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