x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Diego Maradona to continue as Dubai's sports ambassador

Dubai Sports Council sees no reason not to renew contract with Argentine legend, formerly Al Wasl manager. Ahmed Rizvi reports.

Diego Maradona has made his contribution to sports in the country, according to Dr Ahmed Al Sharif, the secretary general of DSC. Salvatore Laporta / AP Photo
Diego Maradona has made his contribution to sports in the country, according to Dr Ahmed Al Sharif, the secretary general of DSC. Salvatore Laporta / AP Photo

DUBAI // Diego Maradona looks set to continue as Dubai's sports ambassador as the Dubai Sports Council chief believes there is "nothing to prevent" them from continuing the partnership.

The Argentine legend was named Dubai's sports ambassador last August, less than a month after being sacked mid-way through his two-year contract with Al Wasl following a disappointing a season. Dr Ahmed Al Sharif, the secretary general of DSC, believes Maradona has made valuable contributions in his role since and expects to see the Argentine continue.

"We have enjoyed working with Maradona, just as he has enjoyed working with us," Al Sharif said. "So we hope we can keep this relationship going. There is absolutely nothing to prevent this partnership from continuing.

"We cannot deny that the legend has made his contribution at different levels and played the role required of him to the fullest. We have planned a few more things for next month where Maradona will play a big part, including a forum for academies."

Maradona's one-year contract with DSC runs till August, but Fifa's Player of the Century has expressed his desire to continue, saying he had found he had found "calm and spiritual peace" living here in the UAE.

"My life was like Formula 1 in the past, going at full throttle, but I am now experiencing this wonderful tranquillity," Maradona said last month. "Living here among the Arabs has changed a lot of my ideas and beliefs, and this has been a very important experience in my life."

In his role as the sports ambassador, Maradona has been present at all the sports events and seminars held in Dubai. During the Dubai Tennis Championships, he played a couple of points with fellow Argentine Juan Martin Del Petro and presented an autographed jersey to Caroline Wozniacki. He also turned out for his employers at a local football tournament.

"Maradona, through his time here, has realised that Dubai has all the ingredients that makes it one of the best cities in the world," Al Sharif said. "The standard of living is high and then he can see there is a high volume of top-class sporting events as well as international conferences.

"He has been involved with us in all these events and he is convinced of the role he is playing now, away from the training field."

arizvi@thenational.ae

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