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Maradona won't quit as Argentina coach over assistant request

DIEGO Maradona says he will not resign as the coach of Argentina's national team if his former teammate Oscar Ruggeri is not accepted as his assistant.

"I'm not going to resign. It cost me a lot to get here, so it's one-time opportunity," said Maradona at a press conference in Venezuela's capital yesterday. "I want to have Oscar Ruggeri at my side as a coach, but if that's not possible, I'm not going to resign."

Argentine Football Association boss Julio Grondona has said he will not give in to Maradona's push for Ruggeri as an assistant.

Ruggeri was Maradona's teammate in Argentina's triumph at the 1986 World Cup, and they also played together at the 1990 and 1994 World Cup finals.

Maradona also joked about Grondona's varying opinions on whether Maradona or current Argentine star Lionel Messi of Barcelona were better at the same age.

"When he's with me, he tells me I'm better than Messi. And when he's with Messi, he tells him he's the best," Maradona said.

"Hopefully he can do much more than I did because that way all Argentines win."

Maradona said he hopes to meet with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez during his visit to the country.


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