DIEGO MARADONA has started coaching Mexican second division club Dorados – but only after they reportedly agreed to fly the team to all their away games on private jets.
The Argentinian star is to receive £138,000 a month to manage the side, which is currently 13th in Mexico’s lower division Liga Ascenso.
The eleven-month contract will be renewed if he achieves promotion for the team, which are without a win in the opening six games of the season.
But according to website Infobae, before agreeing to join the club Maradona insisted that he and the players are transported to all their away games on chartered flights, instead of the buses and economy class commercial flights customary for teams in the league.
The club also agreed to rent a luxury ranch with a swimming pool in the exclusive La Primavera gated community on the outskirts of Culiacan, close to Dorados’ training ground.
But its rich residents residents have objected to the prospect of having Maradona as a neighbour and they reportedly stopped his moving trucks entering the area.
They argued that the star’s documented problems with drugs could lower the tone of the neighbourhood, especially as the Hank clan which owns Dorados has been accused of links to the area’s powerful drugs cartels.
Maradona was presented as the manage the club in front of 500 fans and 250 journalists on Tuesday, where he said his new job is a “rebirth” after years of battling drug addiction, alcoholism and obesity.
He said the task ahead of him at Dorados, which are placed 13th in the 15-club division, will be “like carrying an elephant on our shoulders.”
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Maradona told his first press conference: “We are going to look to win games, as I do not like to play defensive football.”
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.
“When I took [drugs]… It made me go backwards, it was a step back, and what football players have to do is go forward.”
Maradona forward previously managed UAE teams Al-Fujairah and Al-Wasl, along with the Argentina national team from 2008 to 2010.
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.