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August 12, 2009

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Home » Sports » Soccer

Maradona says "nyet" to waiting media

DIEGO Maradona's visit to Russia for a friendly got off on the wrong foot when the Argentina coach canceled a news conference yesterday.

A large international media turnout was turned away from a hotel in the center of Moscow after being told Maradona had no interest in meeting them.

"No, absolutely not," said Argentina media officer Andres Ventura when asked if Maradona would hold a news conference ahead of today's friendly against Russia at Moscow's Lokomotiv stadium.

Ventura blamed the Russian Football Association, which had announced the conference on its Website, for the mix-up.

"They didn't tell us," he said.

However, the Russian FA blamed the Argentinians.

"We had the official confirmation from their delegation about Maradona's pre-match briefing," a Russian FA spokeswoman said.

Asked if the media could watch the team training at the stadium, Ventura replied: "Impossible, it's a closed session. We don't want any media even for the first 15 minutes."

Maradona had been unhappy about playing in Moscow, afraid some players might get injured ahead of next month's World Cup qualifier against Brazil.

"I don't like having to play Russia. We must prepare the team for Brazil but in the middle we've got this match that is of no use," Maradona told Argentine media last month.

Maradona however told the FIFA Website that he has not had time to leave his mark on his team.

"It's totally unfair to expect to see the Maradona style when I only get the guys together two days before each game," he said.

"You have to make the most of what you have, and do and undo things in three days flat. The players travel a long way and they need time to relax and stretch their legs.

"You can't do much work with them before a game and I can't give them double training sessions. They'd be destroyed if I did that."


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