Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Thoughts on Maradona

Alright, so we're all a little excited and frightened about the news that Diego Maradona might well become the next manager of Argentina. How on earth did this happen? It's a perplexing announcement, to say the least. We kicked it around this morning, and after the jump, a few thoughts from everyone on surely the best managerial rumour in years.

Bigus Dickus:
The appointment of Maradona is a disgrace. The man is a cheat. He believes cheating is part of the game and that it should be encouraged under the name of "cheekiness". He should have been banned after the 'hand of god' incident in 1986, as he robbed 52 million people in that game and instead he was celebrated. Says a lot for the people of Argentina. That incident ruined my entire summer that year and forced parents to explain to children that cheating brought victory.

He brings the game into disrepute. He will surely be a bad example to young Argentines like Gago and Messi. Watch them become cheat's also. The AFA should be ashamed of themselves. Maradona ruined his amazing skills by robbing opponents and he still believes that cheating is right. He is bad for the world game and quite honestly it's a shame he is still with us.

This quote sums it up: "It was my hand (but) no, I don't think it was cheating. Cunning, cheekiness, craftiness, but not cheating." - Maradona.

The Likely Lad:
Everyone thought Klinsmann was going to be a disaster, and while I'm not going to compare the two temperamentally, I think you could see a similar hosing of the expectations. Yes, he's going to do some weird shit. Yes, his press conferences are going to be clown shows. And without a doubt, he will completely alienate one or two important players. But guess what, I think he'll bring out the best in some guys you didn't think had much to give. As for Messi, unless Maradona kicks him in training-- and that's not impossible-- he'll be fine.

Final Verdict from the Lad:
Safe Choice? No. Potential for entertainment on and off the field? Staggering.

I refuse to believe this Maradona business. It must be April 1st somewhere. It's nonsense. It's crazy. Argentina is a proud footballing nation. Always one of the top five teams in the world. They play with power and beauty. They have the best kits in international football. And they make the English absolutely insane (the English blame Maradona for his "Hand of God" goal in the '86 Cup so that they don't have to watch Maradona's second - and winning - goal in that match.). In fact, this would only make sense if the Argies were concerned primarily with making the English insane. And they aren't.

Anyhoo, the notion that Argentina would hand over their national team to this fat, drug-abusing, deluded, utterly inexperienced manager is not just crazy...I refuse to believe it. It can't happen. Has Lute Olsen taken over the Argentine F.A. and chose Maradona because he can't get Mickey Mouse on the phone? It would be like the Lakers replacing Phil Jackson with Dennis Rodman. Would you believe that if you read it?

Precious Roy:
There is no way this doesn't end well. Because if through some crazy underhanded shenanigans by the Gods this works and he pilots the Argies to victory in 2010, then hey, who couldn't win with that collection of talent? So yeah for Maradona. But the far more likely outcome that this goes the way of Isiah and the Knicks, holy shit is it going to be an entertaining freak show. A that's a win for the entirety of the non-Argentine football loving world. Brilliant job by the AFA.

Scene: Maradona, Messi, Riquelme, and Tevez are on a football training
ground in Buenos Aires. Translated from Spanish (natch):

Maradona: Yeah, so, okay boys, gather around, stop dribbling that football. Let me tell you about the Hand of God at the 1986 World Cup.

Riquelme: Coach, but shouldn't we start preparing for our next qualifying match against Venezuela?

Maradona: Am I not the football coach?? I am teaching you how to win. (sniff) Right, so, the Hand of God, I was down there in the penalty area, those slow English defenders Hodge and Valdano are trying to cover me and....

Messi: But coach, we should really be working on our set pieces now, right? The game is in two days.

Maradona: (sniff) That's it! Messi, you're benched for the game.

Messi: But coach!?! I'm the team's best player.

Maradona: No, I am the best player on the squad, and I'll be taking your place. Now, more importantly, the Hand of God. Right, so, I'm down there in the English penalty area, I get past Hodge and Valdano, and then there's just the goalie Shilton to beat. That's when I lift the ball up, and then, knowing the ref was some stupid Tunisian...

Tevez: We know, coach, you used your hand. You've already admitted it. Now, look, we all want to get back to practicing for the big game. At this rate we won't even qualify for the World Cup!

Maradona: Enough! I can't believe that I can't even finish the story of the most miraculous goal ever scored without you little shits interrupting me. You are all benched! I'll play all 11 positions myself. Get off the pitch, get out of here!


Looks like the Argentine FA is making the same high quality decisions as the country's incompetent Presidential duo. I can see them wanting to instill a certain level of passion or desire in the players, but installing Maradona as coach reeks of desperation. And unlike Klinsman, Diego doesn't strike me as a coaching innovator full of new ideas and tactics. Instead, he is someone who wasted his athletic gifts and nearly died due to drugs and alchohol (in Buenos Aires the cocaine is named after Diego).

It's hard to imagine the players taking Maradona seriously as a coach, even if they revere him for his past accomplishments. The only way this works is if they put someone like Sergio Batista, who led the U-23s to the gold medal this summer, as the #2, and let Maradona spend his time sparring with the media and getting inside the head of Messi.

Seriously, though, this reeks of desperation.

Moonshine Mike:
The pressers will be the best thing to happen to football. I expect a sex scandal, a betting scandal, and a drug scandal, in that order within 18 months if not from him, then from folks he has hired.

The Fan's Attic:
There is no way this doesn't end well for us, Unprofessional Foul. Maradona is batshit insane. Maybe he can manage, but I doubt it. His press conferences and sideline antics will be worth the price of admission. If he succeeds great, he'll be even more insane. If he loses spectacularly he'll probably a little less insane than if they won. It's a win-win for the soccer snark business.

However, I firmly believe this will actually kill Maradona. I don't think his body can take that stress, especially if it doesn't go well. If he dies of a heart-attack on the sideline, I will not be surprised. It will only serve to make him a greater soccer god in the minds of Argentinians and I can't fault somebody dying while participating in something they truly love.

In short, this will be a giant mess of Maradona.

If this comes to pass, it will be a lot of fun to watch. I think, though, that Maradona will do a better job with the team than Domenech has in France. While that may seem like apples and oranges, I say that the insane guy without real coaching experience is going to screw up less than the insane guy who thinks he knows what he's doing.

In all, his style will be the bluster of Mourinho, but without the results.

The only acceptable way (and likely) way for Maradona's tenure as the Argies' manager is on the sideline from a massive coronary.

The NY Kid:
Is Maradona capable of running the Argentinian national team? I guess that depends on the availability of an all-you-can-eat buffet on the sideline and all-you-can-do cocaine on the team bus. While a fat, coked-up Maradona would certainly be an entertaining option, I would argue that it is also the only way that he can be successful. I mean, would you want a hungry, fiending Maradona considering strategy and formations? That's how we ended up with the 4-5-1! Sure, it will likely lead to a heart attack on the sideline, but if it also results in victory in South Africa I'm sure the rest of the country won't mind.

What do you all think? Inspired push for glory, or sad, desperate PR move that could ruin its best players of the current generation?

Speak your mind in the comments. Further dramatic scenes like Spectator's are welcomed.


The Fan's Attic said...

I'm taking Maradona in the celebrity death pool next year. I'll lay $20 US down...not $20 Zimbabwe dollars.

Keith said...

I'm thinking Riquelme gets a lifetime ban after he's found with El Diego's post-goal stash in his sock.

And as for the Hand of God, Bigus, let it go. England have done jack in five World Cups since then, and besides, it's not Diego's fault the referee was blind, paid off, or both.

Bigus Dickus said...

Keith, I will let it go when he dies.
Cheats should be expelled. World football should be setting an example. He admits cheating and endorses it.

As for the other cups, if not for Sol Campbells perfectly good goal being dissalowed we may have done 'jack'.

Keith said...

Would you rather he took the Pete Rose route? "Hand? My hand was nowhere near the ball! It was behind my head, which struck the ball!"

Bigus Dickus said...

He did take that approach for 16 years! Before he announced that it was ok because cheating is part of the game and acceptable.