Pompey snubbed: Maradona's rage at reports saying he'd quit Argentina
27 July 2009 02:52
Diego Maradona insists he will not walk away from Argentina to take up a role at Portsmouth.
Emails purportedly written by his lawyer suggested that the World Cup '86 winner was ready to quit as his country's head coach to take up a director of football-style role at Fratton Park.
'There is an Arab who wants me,' Maradona told Buenos Aires newspaper Ole. 'And the other day I saw a television reporter saying "Maradona would leave the national team".
Not impressed: Diego Maradona says he wouldn't leave Argentina for Portsmouth
'I was watching with my girlfriend and started talking to the TV: "Noooooo, this is not true!" The blood running through my veins is sky blue and white.
'In no way would I abandon ship. I'll say more. I've signed the contract and agreed to coach (the team) at the Copa America in 2011.'
Sulaiman Al Fahim
Fan: Sulaiman Al Fahim
New Pompey owner Sulaiman Al Fahim is a big fan of Maradona but last week cooled talk of bringing in a man still unforgiven for the inaptly named 'Hand of God' incident.
Reports in the Middle East said that Maradona would come to Portsmouth and instantly seek to sign David Villa, David Silva, Samuel Eto'o and Sergio Aguero.
The 48-year-old only recently signed a contract with Argentina, despite taking the job last October. It had previously thought he was tied to the national team until the end of next summer's World Cup, which the under-fire coach is making hard work of qualifying for.
But, after leaving contract negotiations in the hands of his hard-bargaining ex-wife Claudia Villafane, he says he will still be in charge when the Copa America returns to the country in two years.
He is paid £750,000 a year - £14,000 a week - which is about double that of recent predecessors Alfio Basile and Jose Peckerman.