Diego Maradona would rather the world stop turning if he weren’t the center of the universe for Argentinian Football.

The buzz on the streets of Buenos Aires has come full circle since the start of the World Cup. Everyone seems to be talking about Diego Maradona yet again. A country obsessed with one man that won them a World Cup. Were I president of the A.F.A (Argentine Football Association) I wouldn’t be getting such great sleep these days with the impending task of choosing a new manager for the national side.

We all probably remember that Diego Maradona was denied a 4 Year contract extension immediately after the World Cup owing to his unwillingness to budge on the subject of key members of his back room staff. Particularly long time assistants Alejandro Mancuso and Hector Enrique, whom  the A.F.A didn’t get along particularly well with. Faced with the objections of just two members of his staff, Maradona in yet another moment of madness, decided to stand his ground and refused to replace them or to budge on the issue altogether.

Then the unthinkable happened. The President of the A.F.A Julio Grondona actually showed some backbone when the A.F.A decided that Maradona’s contract would not be extended since he refused to accommodate their demands. Pele must have busted out his favorite samba moves to the tune of that news byte, having come to the conclusion that the final nail in the coffin of Diego Maradona’s career in football was now over.

Legacy intact, Pele and the great majority of the South American continent went to sleep content that they wouldn’t ever have to entertain the possibility of Maradona running across a football pitch with the golden trophy of dreams gleaming under the spotlights as he ran, in what would have seemed like an eternity. Love him or hate him, lets face it we all had our own personalized rendition of what that would have looked like once his side got to the knock out stage of this last World Cup in nothing short of dominant form.

That being the case, I wonder what went through Pele’s mind this last week when Diego Maradona dropped a bombshell on the Argentine press literally begging the A.F.A for the head coaching job back minus the bravado and pre-conditions he was so adamant on before. Having asserted itself to be a strong institution not willing to succumb to the demands of its national heroes the A.F.A are now in a bigger hole than the one they thought they’d dug themselves out of when they refused Maradona the first time around. Murphy’s Law appears to be in full force for the football troubled nation once again.

The reason the A.F.A are in a bigger hole than they were before, is because in the immediate aftermath of Diego’s tantrum and on the back of a 4-0 spanking at the hands of Germany in the quarter finals, none other than Sergio Batista took the reigns of the national side becoming the Argentinian provisional head coach.  Batista is still  remembered by many as a footballing legend in his own right and ironically was a long time team mate of Maradona playing along side him on the Argentinian national team during their illustrious careers.

No one knew what to expect from Batista and quite frankly I don’t think anyone really expected much, but after just two games in charge, Batista’s selections saw victories over Ireland and even World Cup winners Spain by a three goal margin on the 7th of September 2010 in what was a friendly in all but name. Leaving plenty of Argentina’s faithful holding their heads, left to think long and hard about whether they sent the wrong team to the World Cup or the wrong man to lead them.

The question on everyones lips now has to be what the A.F.A will do next. Sandwiched between the legacy of one of the greatest players the game ever saw and Sergio Batista who has delivered success against the freshly crowned champions of the world, I don’t think anyone envies the men sitting in the A.F.A’s headquarters these days.

In the next few weeks, as the situation in Argentina unfolds like a melodramatic latin soap opera, don’t be too surprised if events follow the usual soap plot lines. A marriage to a man she didn’t want and having to live with until she could no longer stand the shame of his poor management of his affairs dishonoring the family name and a messy divorce to follow. Lets hope we aren’t looking at the situation in a few weeks drawing parallels because if that is how things go, I just want to say Argentina, sweetheart. You deserve better.

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