Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 12 December 2019

Diego Maradona quits as manager of Argentine side Gimnasia

The 59-year-old decides to leave latest club after less than three months in charge

Diego Maradona has quit as manager of Argentine side Gimnasia, bringing a premature end to yet another coaching job for the World Cup winner.

"This decision hurt me with all my soul," Maradona said in a message posted on Instagram.

The 59-year-old, who took over at the club in September, had said he would only continue if club president Gabriel Pellegrino stayed in his role following club elections.

Pellegrino, who announced Maradona's departure on local radio station La Red on Tuesday, however, withdrew from the race when an electoral pact fell apart.

Maradona, who won the World Cup in 1986 and is considered one of the greatest players of all time, took over the club from La Plata, just outside Buenos Aires, charged with helping them avoid relegation.

Hailed as a hero on his return to Argentine football after years coaching abroad, Maradona had a limited impact in La Plata.

He lost his first three games in charge and although he has won three of five since then, the team are still third-bottom of the league and in danger of going down.

His last match in charge was the 3-0 win over second-bottom Aldosivi last weekend which lifted Gimnasia to 22nd in the 24-team league.

"I felt that everyone together ... were finding the way for Gimnasia to stay in the first division. This was the moment to keep going with the project and look for the necessary reinforcements," Maradona said.

"I hope that whoever comes in to manage the club can continue with the work we started and keep Gimnasia where it belongs. I wish you all the best, with all my heart."

Maradona’s departure repeats a well-worn theme in his managerial career. Of the six club sides he has managed, only one job lasted more than a year.

The only team he managed for longer was UAE side Al Wasl, where he remained in charge for 14 months in 2011-12. He also managed Fujairah from 2017 to 2018.

His previous club job before returning to Argentina was at Mexican side Dorados de Sinaloa, where he quit after nine months in charge blaming health reasons.

Updated: November 20, 2019 10:58 AM

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