Diego Maradona has resigned as coach of Mexican second-division club Dorados for health reasons, his lawyer said Thursday, after nine tumultuous months in the job for the Argentine football legend.
Maradona, 58, “has decided not to continue in his position as manager of Dorados. Under his doctors’ advice, he will be devoting time to his health and will undergo two operations: for his shoulder and his knee,” lawyer Matias Morla wrote on Twitter.
“We thank the entire Dorados family and will continue the dream together in the future,” he added.
Maradona took the coaching job at Dorados, who are based in the western state of Sinaloa, in September 2018 — amusing skeptics who questioned why the 1986 World Cup champion, who has publicly battled various addictions, would move to a place better known for drug cartels than football.
But he answered his critics by coaching the struggling club to back-to-back finals appearances that brought them tantalizingly close — but not quite — to their dream of winning promotion to the first division.
“Thank you for everything, Diego!” tweeted the club. “A Dorado forever.”
Maradona had said in April that he planned to leave the club at the end of the spring season, alleging the league’s referees were biased against him.
The controversies that have marked his career were not lacking from his time at the club.
The Mexican Football Federation fined him an unspecified amount for violating its apolitical ethics code by praising Venezuela’s leftist President Nicolas Maduro in a post-match press conference in March.
And security guards had to restrain a violent, swearing Maradona from attacking jeering fans of opposing team Atletico San Luis in December after Dorados lost the fall season finals to them in extra time.
Maradona had to watch that match from the stands, after being sent off near the end of Dorados’s 1-0 first-leg victory for launching an insult-laced tirade at officials when he thought his team should have been awarded a penalty.
Maradona’s managerial career has failed to match the luster of his playing days.
The dream of winning a title as coach still eludes him, after stints managing the Argentine national team and various clubs in Argentina, the Middle East and now Mexico. (Agence France-Presse)