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November 14, 2009

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Home » Sports » Soccer

Maradona leaves talks of ban for another day

ARGENTINA coach Diego Maradona refused to discuss his expletive-filled outburst after a World Cup qualifier, and would not talk on Thursday about what kind of sanction he might receive.

Maradona, who will travel to a hearing at FIFA headquarters in Switzerland on Sunday, said he would "not speak about that subject" during a news conference ahead of Argentina's friendly against Spain today.

"I'll say what I have to say when I want to talk," he said.

Maradona said the criticism he has faced during one year in charge has been excessive and that he faced difficult moments, none worse than when the Albiceleste looked like they might not reach the 2010 finals in South Africa.

"The worst has been the losses. But I have a group of men in which I have confidence and in that I will seek refuge," the 49-year-old football great said. "I've had really difficult times. There were moments when the Argentina team didn't look like it would qualify but with the group we had, we qualified and we did so at a difficult ground."

Maradona built up his players with nearly every question, especially star Lionel Messi, who has been the subject of criticism as the 22-year-old has failed to reproduce his club form for his country.

"We've given him a lot of responsibility and Messi is doing the work I've asked of him, I'm happy with him," said Maradona, who added he had a talk with the Barcelona forward during the day.

"We have the best in the world and we have to use him, we have to throw him out there on the field. Inside the team, he should be the cherry on the top of the dessert."

But he also said that more was expected of the team.

"We're all aware of when we do things well and things badly," Maradona said. "Everyone has to be their own critic and should welcome the criticism as a way to improve."


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