Dubai: Diego Maradona has put his name forward for the Bahrain national team post, just days after saying he could never abandon his Al Wasl players and despite being in the running to take charge of the UAE.
The Argentine legend is only halfway through a two-year contract at Al Wasl, but he has openly courted controversy about his future in recent weeks, ever since making a public ultimatum for greater transfer funds in February.
According to Bahraini newspaper Al Bilad, Maradona said: “Put my name in your options if you are looking for a new coach for the national team.”
“I think that Bahraini football is generally good. Al Riffa [one of Bahrain’s leading clubs] are characterised by excellent passing and have very good elements. Through my work with Al Wasl, I can see Gulf football is at a good level but needs more attention.”
These comments come just days after Maradona criticized fellow Argentine coach Ricardo Caruso Lombardi for ditching Argentine league club Quilmes for Cuervo. Maradona breached the subject of loyalty after he himself turned down a recent approach to manage Argentine club San Lorenzo.
“I have a job and I could not abandon my players. I am not going to do what Caruso Lombardi did because it would show a lack of respect to everyone at Al Wasl,” Maradona told Argentina’s La Red Radio.
“What Caruso Lombardi did repulsed me, he wasn’t even out of work. In Quilmes he had a strong side and a group of players that were always loyal. It was not the moment to abandon ship.
“[San Lorenzo] could have hired a coach who was out of work, not one that already had a job.”
News of El Diego’s snubbing of San Lorenzo and his apparent appeal to Bahrain’s Football chief, already follows speculation that he will take over the reins of the UAE national team.
“For me it would be an honour to manage the UAE – But it will all be done in consensus with the UAE FAand the chairman of Al Wasl. If it happens it happens and if not we will continue to work as we have been working with Al Wasl,” said Maradona.
A spokesperson for Al Wasl said of Maradona’s comments in Bahrain: “He was just expressing goodwill. They made him an honourable member and gave him a national team jersey. He feels pressure under such hospitality not to give something back to the fans through words and gestures and the next day it’s a headline. But this is no statement of intent.