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Maradona dreams of coaching Argentina

The legendary footballer said that both Spain and his native country will provide Brazil with tough competition at the WC.

india Updated: May 25, 2006 12:32 IST

Diego Maradona said on Wednesday that he dreams of coaching Argentina in the future, and believes both Spain and his native country will provide Brazil with tough competition at the World Cup.

Maradona made the remarks at a press conference where he announced that he would comment on World Cup matches for Spanish TV broadcaster Cuatro.

"I dream of being the coach of the Argentine squad. It's something that I would really like and I will fight to become the national coach," Maradona said. "

"It's something that I owe to myself. It would be the icing on the cake for my career," he added. "It would be great."

The Argentine great said Spain and Argentina are in great form and will be tough contenders for Brazil - a five-time World Cup champion - and one of the favorites to win the tournament.

"Argentina and Spain are just below Brazil in the ranking," Maradona said.

Maradona also praised Brazil midfielder Ronaldinho. "It's always a pleasure to see him playing and I also like him very much as a person," Maradona said.

"Hopefully after the World Cup he becomes the best player in the world, but better after the next World Cup. He should leave this year's title to Messi."

Maradona, chosen by FIFA in 2000 as the greatest player in soccer history along with Pele, made his debut with Argentinos Juniors at 16 and then joined Boca Juniors.

After a two-year spell with FC Barcelona, he moved on to Napoli in 1984 where he won two Italian league titles, the UEFA Cup and the Italian Cup.

At the 1986 World Cup, Maradona coined the phrase 'Hand of God' after punching in a goal in his team's 2-1 win over England in the quarterfinals.

Minutes later, he ran past four opposing players to score one of the most spectacular goals in the tournament's history. Argentina then went on to beat West Germany in the final.

The forward also captained Argentina in the 1990 World Cup, leading the team to the final again, where it lost to West Germany. Four years later, he was sent home from the World Cup after failing a drug test.

Maradona now says that all he wants is to enjoy soccer, especially at the World Cup.

"I want to enjoy this World Cup, each match, watch Spain, Brazil, Argentina play. I want to see the matches and soak up soccer," he said.

In 1992, the Argentine left Napoli after serving a 15-month suspension for cocaine, the drug that blighted the latter part oft his career.

He played for Sevilla and Newell's Old Boys before ending his career in 1997 with Boca Juniors. Maradona says he has totally cured of his drug addiction.

"It's been more than two years that I have not consumed any drugs," said Maradona, who said for his recovery he got the support of his two daughters and his family. "There hasn't been any quacks, warlocks, or anything like that."

A bloated Maradona also came close to death after suffering a heart attack in 2004, but following weight-reduction surgery he has resumed public appearances, including as the host of a chat show on Argentine TV.

"I got to weigh 110 kilos (242 pounds) and now I currently weigh 72 (158 pounds). I'm running well and I'm on diet, eating chicken but not beef," he said.