Maradona: I will not abandon ship

BUENOS AIRES - Argentina coach Diego Maradona said he will never abandon the national team after reports he may be prepared to quit to work for Portsmouth's new Middle Eastern owner. "In no way would I abandon ship," Maradona said. "Light blue and white blood runs through my veins," he told Sunday's sports daily Ole. "I'll say more. I've signed the contract and agreed to coach (the team) at the Copa America in 2011," he added in an extract on the website of a full interview and spread on Maradona to be published in Monday's issue of the paper. Arabian Business magazine this week quoted a lawyer, Angel Oscar Moyano, as saying Maradona would give up his Argentina job to act as a "global ambassador" for Portsmouth, bringing top players to the English Premier league club. Portsmouth confirmed on Tuesday a takeover led by Abu Dhabi billionaire Sulaiman al-Fahim. Maradona's new contract would give him the chance to lift the Copa America, a trophy he did not win as a player. He captained Argentina, then world champions, to fourth place in the 1987 Copa America, the last time it was held in his country.