Diego Maradona Is Risking His Legacy with Chequered Coaching Career

Ian RodgersWorld Football Staff WriterDecember 21, 2012

Diego Maradona has failed to hit the stellar heights of his playing career as a manager
Diego Maradona has failed to hit the stellar heights of his playing career as a managerChris McGrath/Getty Images

Diego Maradona becoming the next manager of Iraq would have been another bizarre twist to his managerial career.

The 52-year-old former Argentina international had looked set to be named as the Middle Eastern country’s new national boss, according to reports.

However, the Iraqi Football Association insists Maradona is not a candidate for the vacancy.

But the question now is where does this leave the Argentina legend after a disappointing time as a manager following his retirement from playing in 1997.

Early stints as a coach alongside Carlos Fren at Mandiyu de Corrientes and Racing Club ended with little success and the Argentine legend drifted out of the game.

After a period including two heart attacks, a stint as a chat show host, a suspended sentence for shooting an air rifle at journalists and gastric bypass surgery, Maradona made a tentative step back into the game as sport vice president with Boca Juniors in 2005.

Maradona left that role after a year before putting himself forward to succeed Alfio Basile as Argentina national coach in 2008.

Maradona made his debut as national manager in a friendly against Scotland at Hampden Park in November of the same year.

Argentina won three successive matches at the start of Maradona’s reign but were then humbled 6-1 by Bolivia, leaving qualification for the 2010 World Cup hanging by a thread.

Maradona oversaw two wins in the final two qualifying matches to ensure Argentina’s presence in the South Africa finals where they won all of their group stage matches.

A win over Mexico gave them a quarter-final berth against Germany, but the South Americans, including Lionel Messi and Carlos Tevez, were no match for their European opponents, who ran out 4-0 winners.

Maradona left his position as national coach soon after the World Cup exit.

His most recent managerial role was with Al Wasl in the United Arab Emirates, but he was sacked by the club after just a year in charge.

It is fair to say Maradona’s coaching career cannot hold a candle to his time as a player.

The Argentine, who played for Napoli and Barcelona, is considered the only serious rival to Pele as the greatest player of all time after a glittering career on the field.

Maradona almost single-handedly guided his country to success in the 1986 World Cup finals.

An illegal goal to defeat England aside, the striker was inspirational throughout the tournament in Mexico.

Now though, after an ignominious coaching career, Maradona must ask himself the question: Is he risking his playing legacy by chasing further managerial roles?