Football

Diego Maradona to spearhead youth development in Dubai

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Maradona agrees new deal  (©GettyImages)
Maradona agrees new deal (©GettyImages).

Diego Maradona has confirmed that he will remain an honorary ambassador of the Dubai Sports Council (DSC) for at least one more year, the 1986 World Cup winner telling a news conference that he hopes to 'contribute to sport in Dubai'.

Accompanied by secretary general of the organisation, Dr. Ahmad Al Sharif, Maradona expressed his happiness to return to the country after three months away. 

"I'm so proud to renew my contract here in Dubai," he told reporters, "I am far from my country; in Dubai I have my second home."

The deal is understood to have been completed on Tuesday, ending months of speculation over the 52-year-old's future. 

With links to high profile, European managerial positions in May, the DSC will certainly be happy to hold onto the influential Argentine. 

Montpellier reportedly expressed an interest in buying Maradona's services earlier in the year, but he reassured Emirati football officials with his comments in March. 

"I'm really willing to renew for three years more", he revealed: "I really want to stay here. 

"I'm pleased with the work I'm doing with the Dubai Sports Council and I love Dubai."

Maradona initially took up the post last September, but received regular criticism for his infrequent public appearances and failure to drive innovation in the DSC. 

The Council however, had only praise for the man now responsible for youth development in the region, a spokesperson for the organisation telling www.Sport360.com: "The relationship between Diego Maradonna and Dubai Sports Council is excellent and there is a great deal of mutual respect from both sides."

The Dubai football academies initiative, expected to open in September, will hope to exploit Maradona's influence and experience to help craft a viable route into world football for Emirati children. 

His new project, understood to be for 12-16-year-old players in Dubai, will hope to forge links with European academies and increase communication between different clubs in the UAE. 

However, he seems realistic about his challenge, claiming: "The passion and love for football is lacking in the UAE." 

Sharing the great ambition of native Council members, he added: "We need to bring everything together until they reach the World Cup, and that's the vision."

 

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Topics:
World Cup
Football
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