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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 June 2018

Diego Maradona warms up for Fujairah gig with some game time in Switzerland

Argentina football hero, who signed to become Fujairah manager, has a bit of fun before he gets into serious business ahead of the 2017/18 season.

Diego Maradona was involved in Fifa's 'Legends Programme' on Friday. Jean-Christophe Bott / EPA
Diego Maradona was involved in Fifa's 'Legends Programme' on Friday. Jean-Christophe Bott / EPA

As far as pre-season friendlies go, this was something a little out of the ordinary.

Diego Maradona, set to this week take up duties as manager of Fujairah in the UAE First Division, warmed up for his new role by mixing it with some of the great and the good from football’s past on Friday, when he played in a legends match for Fifa president Gianni Infantino.

The Argentine, appointed Fujairah manager in May, was one of a number of ex-pros invited to Brig, Switzerland, with an all-star cast that included Brazil’s Ronaldo, Paolo Maldini, Clarence Seedorf and Marco van Basten. Maradona featured for the World XI.

At 56, the former World Cup winner may not be quite the player he was back in 1986, but he still impressed the crowd with a few of the skills (see below) that make him widely recognised as one of the greatest footballers of all time.

His next stop is the UAE, where he will begin in earnest to plot Fujairah’s path back into the Arabian Gulf League. How about Ronaldo up front, for starters?

Fifa president Gianni Infantino, left, with Diego Maradona. Fabrice Coffrini / AFP
FIFA President Gianni Infantino (L) congratulates former Argentinian football star Diego Maradona after he scored a goal during "The Gianni's game, the match of legends", a football match with football legends in honour of FIFA's President on July 7, 2017 in Brig. / AFP PHOTO / Fabrice COFFRINI

Fabrice Coffrini / AFP
Former Argentinian football star Diego Maradona reacts during "The Gianni's game, the match of legends", a football match with football legends in honour of FIFA's President on July 7, 2017 in Brig. / AFP PHOTO / Fabrice COFFRINI

Fabrice Coffrini / AFP
Former Argentinian football star Diego Maradona controls the ball during "The Gianni's game, the match of legends", a football match with football legends in honour of FIFA's President on July 7, 2017 in Brig. / AFP PHOTO / Fabrice COFFRINI

Fabrice Coffrini / AFP
Former Argentinian football star Diego Maradona takes selfies with supporters during "The Gianni's game, the match of legends", a football match with football legends in honour of FIFA's President on July 7, 2017 in Brig. / AFP PHOTO / Fabrice COFFRINI

Jean-Christophe Bott / EPA
epa06073859 Argentinian former soccer star Diego Maradona (L) in action during the Gianni's game, a soccer match with many football legends, at the stadium Sportplatz Geschina, in Brig, Switzerland, 07 July 2017. EPA/JEAN-CHRISTOPHE BOTT

Jean-Christophe Bott / EPA
epa06073934 Italian former soccer player Alessandro Del Piero (L) greets Argentinian former soccer star Diego Maradona during the Gianni's game, a soccer match with many football legends, at the stadium Sportplatz Geschina, in Brig, Switzerland, 07 July 2017. EPA/JEAN-CHRISTOPHE BOTT

Jean-Christophe Bott / EPA
<p>Former Brazilian soccer star Ronaldo, left, and former Argentinian soccer star Diego Maradona, right, share a joke as they arrive for the Gianni's game, a soccer match with football legends, in Brig, Switzerland, Friday, July 7, 2017. (Jean-Christophe Bott/Keystone via AP)</p>

Jean-Christophe Bott / EPA
<p>Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, left, former Argentinian soccer star Diego Maradona, center, and FIFA President Gianni Infantino, right, pose for a photo before the Gianni's game, a soccer match with football legends, in Brig, Switzerland, Friday, July 7, 2017. (Jean-Christophe Bott/Keystone via AP)</p>