The English-speaking press didn't do the best job of picking up/translating Diego Maradona's latest non-footballing gem. Indeed, the man who dazzled all of us on the pitch seems determined to disgust us off it.
With Brazil, Paraguay, and Chile through, it was up to Argentina to travel to Montevideo and try to lock up that fourth place spot with a semblance of attractive football. Instead, CONMEBOL fans were treated to a disjointed, meek Argentina that may have gotten the result they needed but look a far cry from the team that most expect when they think of the albicelestes. For most it would be a moment of introspection. To humbly assume what was an unimpressive foray through the qualifying rounds, where two teams with significantly less talent made it through while the mighty Argentina had to wait for the last matchday to learn their fate. Indeed, it was time for Diego to think about reading a book on tactics. Maybe find out how to use the chalkboard in the lockerroom.
He could tell the Argentine press to "Suck it." And then tell them to "Keep sucking it." Followed by some nonsensical blithering about being white or black, but never grey, excusing himself for the ladies, and telling the press to...you guessed it...to "keep sucking it." Though to be fair, Diego switched the verbs this time, going from "chupar" to "mamar." So maybe he told them to suck it and keep eating it. Hey, you can't say the guy's repetitive.
At least at press conferences. But, the man with the most gifted left foot in football proved once again that he remains repetitive at life. Once more Diego shows that he is incapable of looking inward, identifying a flaw, and fixing it. Diego, as has been the case since he left the game, continues to blame others and behave like a child. An op-ed from Spain made a great point when they noted that Maradona must be working his tail off with this Argentina team...for them to look as bad as they do.
Diego, aside from his charisma as one of the game's best ever, appears to have no tactical acumen to speak of. Or work ethic, as leaks to the Argentine press indicate the team doesn't practice in the mornings because Diego likes to sleep in...until 3 p.m. And so, as the international dates come to an end, and the Argentine populus returns to their apologist ways with "God" aka el Pelusa aka Maradona, Argentina looks to be in serious trouble.
Messi is unrecognizable in Maradona's "system," Veron is old, Riquelme remains marginalized (who's fault no one knows), and the defense is a patchwork of interchangeable question marks. The best move Grondona and the AFA could make is to fire Diego immediately and pick a proven successor to wait for the pre-World Cup friendlies. But with Diego having been "ratified" by his qualification we're more likely to see Argentina careen into South Africa this summer like a train going off the tracks. And off the track it will go, because Argentina looks a poor side, and no amount of talent or will can overcome the formational and strategic mess that is Argentina. Normally a country that knows exactly how it should play, under Diego this team looks lost at best, and at times borders on the unrecognizable.
While comforting to know that Argentina will be at the World Cup, and with them Messi, it may be a tragic version of the albiceleste that we witness this summer. And the potential failure of the team could be the final straw for an icon who's burned almost every bridge except the faith of his own country. While Argentina may have forgiven him for his crass remarks, his drug-addled idiocy, and general ridiculousness, I don't think even they will forgive him if Argentina underperforms in South Africa. Because the Cup Maradona brought home would essentially be counterbalanced by a Cup he lets slip away by virtue of his own arrogance and incompetence.
Maradona should be careful. Because he may be the one sucking it soon.