Maradona Shocks Argentina - As Usual

Since taking over the reigns of the coaching job at the Argentine national team, Diego Maradona has been anything but unconventional. That may not be such a bad thing had it been restricted to playing patterns and styles on the pitch. However, “el Diego” has a large ego, one that isn’t satisfied easily. Skirting with Controversy - Again>

Always known to show the “I am the Best” side of his character, Maradona may have been unparalleled as a player, but as a coach, he is definitely off his rocker.

While removing Javier Zanetti from his lineup may have been understandable, considering that the Inter captain has not seen the best of forms under Maradona, especially during the World Cup qualifiers, the exclusion of Esteban Cambiasso may have shocked the teammates, fans and the football community at large. Never been Kissed by Diego Maradona>

Cambiasso has been priceless to Inter’s run at the treble this season but not even finding a place in the 30 member provisional squad may be more due to ego-clashes, than anything else. In fact, Cambiasso has not been picked, even once, ever since Maradona took over the job at the helm of the national team.

Zanetti’s place will be taken by Nicolas Otamendi, a young centre back who will effectively be playing out of position, with Walter Samuel and Martin Demichelis taking up the central roles.

Juan Sebastian Veron has been having the time of his life and has become a regular member of the Argentine national team in the twilight of his career. While Juan Roman Riquelme refused to play under Maradona, Veron has gone on from strength to strength and looks like a firm favourite to go to South Africa this summer. The missing name of Fernando Gago may have raised a few eyebrows however his place in Real Madrid has been quite iffy since Xabi Alonso came into the picture.

Where Maradona has rattled the cages is in the inclusion of Juan Manuel Insuarralde, Sebastian Blano, Ariel Garce and Juan Mercier. While most of these are unheard-of names, the fact that they have only 8 caps amongst themselves is either a sign of Maradona’s courage and trust in these players, or simply his ego pushing him to the edge of stupidity.

Another name likely to miss out on the 23-member squad is that of Diego Milito. The Inter player has been another key element in Inter’s treble hunt this season and his exclusion from the squad, especially if someone like Martin Palermo is picked instead, will send shock waves through the country. All his Good Work may Fail>

All in all, Maradona may be gambling with his squad as, surely, these are not the best 30 that Argentine football has to offer to the 2010 World Cup:

Goalkeepers

Mariano Andujar (Catania) Sergio Romero (AZ Alkmaar) Diego Pozo (Colon)

Defenders

Nicolas Burdisso (Roma) Marin Demichelis (Bayern Munich) Juan Manuel Insuarralde (Newell’s Old Boys) Gabriel Heinze (Marseille) Nicolas Otamendi (Velez Sarsfield) Clemente Rodriguez (Estudiantes) Walter Samuel (Inter) Ariel Garce (Colon) Fabricio Coloccini (Newcastle United)

Midfielders

Mario Bolatti (Fiorentina) Sebastian Blanco (Lanus) Jesus Datolo (Olympicacos) Angel Di Maria (Benfica) Jonas Gutierrez (Newcastle United) Javier Mascherano (Liverpool) Javier Pastore (Palermo) Juan Sebastian Veron (Estudiantes) Juan Mercier (Argentinos Juniors) Maxi Rodriguez (Liverpool) Jose Ernesto Sosa(Estudiantes)

Forwards

Lionel Messi (Barcelona) Martin Palermo (Boca Juniors) Gonzalo Higuain (Real Madrid) Sergio Aguero (Atletico Madrid) Ezequiel Lavezzi (Napoli) Carlos Tevez (Manchester City) Diego Milito (Inter)

Anjali nambissan
Sports Pundit member

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