Maradona: We'll make history

Argentine legend makes a grand entrance to start life in Dubai

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Diego Armando Maradona set his sights on the championship for new club Al Wasl after dismissing the notion of a string of big-name signings following him to Dubai.

The Argentine legend announced himself to Dubai at a glitzy press conference at the Zabeel Saray hotel on the Palm Jumeirah.

“I am going to take my team as far as it can, to the highest level possible,” said the 50-year-old, who revealed he will be in Dubai for at least two years.

“Football is so beautiful that every day you can have a surprise. I don’t believe in just luck, I think that if we work hard with a good team, we can make history. What is more important is to leave a legacy. This is what my players need to understand or they will not play.

“The Al Wasl team is my life priority. I want to be champion.”

Since the day Maradona agreed to coach Al Wasl, rumours have been rife that world-class footballers such as Uruguay star Diego Forlan would follow.

But the former Argentina manager ruled out any final paydays for high-profile players coming to the end of their careers.

He said: “I am not going to ask for Messi, Tevez or Villa. Not because I don’t like them. I love them. But I also know they have big commitment. I want people who have the same commitment that they have in my team. We are going to look in the local market. But we have to talk to the directors. I want good players.

“I would like to bring players here. I cannot mention names, but I am going to be very clear; the players that I will bring, they have to play with passion, they have to give their life in the field. They have to do what I want them to do. Above all, they have to bring youth and energy. I don’t want old players.

“I don’t want a graveyard of white elephants. I have to have players in very good condition. I don’t want players who are about to retire and just want more pictures. The players who come here, he will come here to run.”

Reports of a $10million salary package were also dismissed by Maradona.

“We are very far away from the numbers you have mentioned,” said Maradona when asked the size of his salary.

“I don’t play football anymore, I am a coach. The people who make the money are the players. We make much less money.”

The former Napoli star spoke out on the corruption allegations that have rocked soccer’s ruling body, FIFA, calling the organisation ‘dinosaurs’ and ‘arrogant’.

FIFA, which generates $4bn from the World Cup, has pledged widespread reform to tackle claims of bribery; an overhaul Maradona said was overdue.

“Every day we are discovering more corruption and fixed matchesI don’t support corrupt people. I will never be on their side,” he said. “They are arrogant. When you have so much power, you can have stupid things. Every day there is a scandal. This is not football.

“In FIFA we have a big museum. They are dinosaurs that have power,” he added to cheers from the assembled media.

“There are many things that are not clear in football nowadays and many people are now realising that. Football is not understood by FIFA. Not Blatter, who has never kicked a ball.”

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