DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (AP) - Diego Maradona has again threatened to leave Al Wasl after this season, saying he plans to meet with the club’s chief executive next week and demand more money to buy players that would allow him to “compete.”
Maradona took the Al Wasl job in May with a two-year contract. The Argentine great said he has no other offers but felt the club had broken promises to provide him with a half dozen players of his choosing. The club hasn’t won any trophies and is likely to miss out on an Asian Champions League spot for next season.
He said he will meet with management “in the coming days and decide if we can continue to work together,” Maradona said. “I will look at whether Al Wasl can fulfill some of my requirements. If they are unable to do so, I will leave the city with mutual agreement that satisfies both parties and I will definitely come back to Dubai as a tourist.”
This is not the first time he has threatened to cut short his contract over a lack of qualify players. He also warned the club he would quit in February over a restrictive player budget, but a meeting with chairman Marwan Bin Beyat had seemed to put the issue to rest.
But with the team in sixth place in the UAE pro league, Maradona appeared to have resigned himself to an early departure. He told reporters how he would be “sad” to leave Dubai but that he couldn’t accept remaining with a club that didn’t allow him to challenge for the title.
Should he quit, Maradona said he might spend his time helping care for his grandson Benjamin, whose name is tattooed on his right forearm, rather than take another coaching job.
“I will be ready to leave if I cannot get the players I want,” he said. “If I can’t compete, there is no reason to continue. If the players are too expensive or the club lacks of budget, maybe then my leaving the club will be easier on them. They will be able to keep the funds for the players and then invest it in something else they require.”
Maradona coached Argentina to the 2008 World Cup quarterfinals in South Africa. He was fired after the World Cup and was linked to several clubs before accepting the Al Wasl offer.
His surprising hiring by Al Wasl raised hopes the club would compete for the league title. But that has not happened. As the club struggled, Maradona has blamed the team’s performance on any number of issues.
The sports club is chaired by Sheik Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, a brother of the Dubai ruler. Al Wasl is considered one of the richest clubs in Dubai but hasn’t won anything since 2007.
It has several foreign players on its squad, including Uruguayan striker Juan Olivera and Iranian midfielder Mohammed Reza Khalatberi.