Latin America & Caribbean

Diego Maradona's 'rebirth' at coaching job at Mexican side Dorados

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Media captionMaradona greeted fans as he held his first training session

Argentine football legend Diego Maradona says his new job as manager of a Mexican second-division club is a "rebirth" after years of battling drug addiction, alcoholism and obesity.

The choice though of Dorados in Sinaloa state, home to one of Mexico's most powerful drug cartels, surprised some.

He said the task ahead of him at Dorados will be "like carrying an elephant on our shoulders."

The club are currently 13th in Mexico's second division, the Liga Ascenso.

The team are without a win in the opening six games of the league.

Despite this, Maradona said he would coach in an attacking manner, similar to how he played.

"We are going to look to win games, as I do not like to play defensive football," Maradona told his first press conference.

He also acknowledged some of his past struggles. "I had a lot of missteps in my life. I assume this responsibility like someone who holds a child in their arms," he said.

"When I took [drugs] ... It made me go backwards, it was a step back, and what football players have to do is go forward."

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Maradona was given a Dorados shirt, featuring the number he played in
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption It is the latest managerial role for the Argentine
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Maradona has struggled with his weight and addiction in recent years
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Maradona spoke of the role at Dorados as a "new beginning"

The former Barcelona and Napoli forward previously managed UAE teams Al-Fujairah and Al-Wasl, along with the Argentina national team from 2008 to 2010.

"I am here to work. I am here to give my heart like I did in Fujairah, where I drove 300 kilometres a day to work," Maradona said.

Although local media reported that residents of the wealthy neighbourhood where Maradona hopes to live have blocked his move, Dorados fans were largely supportive.

"We trust you, Diego. Here we don't criticise, we only admire," one fan's sign said.

Mexico was the scene of Maradona's finest moment as a player, when he led his country to the 1986 World Cup title.

But he said had not come to the club to reminisce. "We are not here for a stroll, we didn't come on vacation, we came to work... It will be great to win together, it will be great to win together," he said.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Hundreds of Dorados fans turned up to watch Maradona's first training session
Image copyright AFP
Image caption They welcomed Maradona to their club with banners and a mural
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Others made portraits of the footballing great

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