BUENOS AIRES - Diego Maradona, linked this week with Portsmouth's new, rich Middle Eastern owner, said he would never hide anything from his Argentina team. "In the national team I want people who are loyal to me...(and) The Mascheranos, Messis, Agueros will always have what's best for them," Maradona said on Friday. "They'll never find out about something from behind (their backs), the coach will always go to tell them things. All my life I've operated like that, face to face," he told TyC Sports cable TV in an interview. Javier Mascherano is Argentina's captain, Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero two of their leading strikers. Maradona did not talk about a report in Arabian Business magazine quoting a lawyer, Angel Oscar Moyano, as saying the Argentina coach was prepared to give up his job with the national team to act as a "global ambassador" for Portsmouth, bringing top players to the English Premier league club. He said the decision for Argentina to play Brazil at Rosario Central rather than River Plate in their World Cup qualifier on September 5 was made by the players. "The players won, they asked to play in Rosario," Maradona said of the Argentine Football Association's (AFA) decision to stage the match in Argentina's second city where the Gigante de Arroyito ground is smaller than River Plate's Monumental stadium in Buenos Aires. "(Playing there) doesn't guarantee anything but if... the River ground doesn't give you the support that Rosario's does, it's a plus we can take advantage of," Maradona said. Maradona criticized River's stadium, and in particular the turf, before and after their 1-0 win over Colombia in June but senior players felt a lack of atmosphere due to its size and an athletics track around the pitch. FIFA have approved the Rosario Central ground provided the AFA make some refurbishments to the changing rooms and press and VIP stands. Argentina have only lost one qualifier at home and that was at River Plate where they were humbled 5-0 by Colombia on September 5, 1993. They drew 0-0 with Brazil at Rosario Central on their way to winning their first World Cup in 1978.
24 July 2009
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