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Door still open for Maradona, says Argentina's Bilardo
Published : 27 Dec 2011 16:46:52Rss feed
Argentina's general manager, Carlos Bilardo, insisted on Tuesday that the door remains open for a possible return of former national team coach Diego Maradona.
Maradona led Argentina to the quarter-finals at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, where they were thrashed 4-0 by Germany, and his contract was subsequently not renewed by the Argentine Football Association (AFA).
Bilardo has admitted that he has not spoken to the former football legend since then, but did not rule out a possible reconciliation.
"We don't talk any more. Since 1983, with Diego, we've argued at least 40 times," Bilardo told France Football magazine.
"For the past year and a half, (the relationship) is over. But you can never say never, never again," he added, in reference to Maradona's chances of returning to the national set-up.
Regarding their falling out after the World Cup, Bilardo said: "He should have stayed. But he wanted to keep all his technical staff and we didn't agree with this. He said: 'It's all or nothing.' We told him: 'All? No!' And he left."
Bilardo led an Argentina side spearheaded by Maradona to glory at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, but relations between the pair have since soured.
After his contract as national coach was not renewed, Maradona claimed that he had been "lied" to by AFA president Julio Grondona and "betrayed" by Bilardo.
Maradona was succeeded by Sergio Batista, who was in turn replaced by Alejandro Sabella following Argentina's quarter-final exit as hosts at this year's Copa America.