July 3, 2018 / 10:38 AM / 15 days ago

Maradona offers to coach Argentina for free

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Former Argentine great Diego Maradona has offered to coach his country for free, eight years after his last attempt ended in World Cup failure.

FILE PHOTO: World Cup - Group D - Nigeria vs Argentina - Saint Petersburg Stadium, Saint Petersburg, Russia - June 26, 2018 Fans take photos of Diego Maradona in the stands before the match REUTERS/Sergio Perez/File Photo

Maradona, who watched his side eliminated 4-3 by France last weekend in Kazan, was asked if he fancied another shot at the job – even though current coach Jorge Sampaoli has a contract until 2022.

“Yes, and I would do it for free,” Maradona said on a Venezuelan TV show. “I wouldn’t ask for anything in return.”

Slideshow (5 Images)

The former Boca Juniors and Napoli player coached Argentina at the 2010 World Cup, where his team were beaten 4-0 by Germany at the quarter-final stage.

Since then, the player who guided Argentina to their last World Cup win in 1986, has only coached two club sides in the United Arab Emirates.

He is still one of the most controversial faces in football, and he hit the headlines in Russia for his colourful appearances at Argentina games.

Never a stranger to extremes, Maradona produced some of this World Cup’s lasting images - celebrating victories in iconic poses, giving the finger to fans, and being helped into a hospitality box to be seen by doctors after suffering from low blood pressure.

“People think I am happy but my heart is heavy,” Maradona said about Argentina’s elimination. “I feel really bad that everything we built with so much effort we destroyed so easily.”

Reporting by Andrew Downie; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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