Maradona accuses AFA chiefs

Argentina head coach hits out after being axed

Last updated: 29th July 2010   Subscribe to RSS Feed

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Diego Maradona has accused Argentine football chiefs of betraying him after they voted unanimously to end his tenure as national team coach.

The Argentine Football Association (AFA) opted against renewing Maradona's contract following the team's surprise 4-0 defeat by Germany in the World Cup quarter-finals.

In his first public comments since the defeat, Maradona took aim at AFA president Julio Grondona and the technical director of national teams, Carlos Bilardo, stating they conspired against him.

"Grondona lied to me, Bilardo betrayed me," explained Maradona.

"Grondona told me in the changing room after we were eliminated in South Africa ... that he was very pleased with the work I'd done and he wanted me to stay on.

"When we were in mourning, Bilardo worked in the shadows to kick me out.

"They called me to put out a fire and then when I did, this happens."

Impossible

Maradona says he wanted to continue as coach but that during a meeting with Grondona, the AFA head had asked him to replace seven members of his coaching staff.

"He knows it's impossible for me to continue without my coaching staff," he continued.

"I defend everyone from the masseuse to the assistant because I have values and I'm not going to change.

"I've given my all for the Argentine soccer shirt ... to wear this shirt again... And I'm convinced that the players felt this again ... maybe that was my job."

Grondona has denied Maradona's accusations, stating: "I can't see how there was a betrayal of any kind.

"Perhaps he sees betrayal as trying to make things better.... the only thing I was looking for was to make a change, not to get rid of Maradona."