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Diego Maradona's tenure as Argentina coach ends


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Diego Maradona's reign as Argentina coach has ended, the Argentine Football Association (AFA) has confirmed.

Maradona admitted he was keen to remain in the role ahead of a meeting with AFA president Julio Grondona on Monday.

But the 49-year-old 1986 World Cup winner is believed to have rejected Grondona's demand to change seven of his backroom staff.

Argentina crashed out of the 2010 World Cup finals at the quarter-final stage, where they lost 4-0 to Germany.

Before the pair's two-hour meeting on Monday, Grondona stated he was hopeful a new four-year deal could be agreed with Maradona.

But while Maradona was keen to continue in the job, he also declared he would he would refuse to renew his contract, which ended after the defeat to Germany in Cape Town, if the AFA dismissed even one of his staff.

"If they touch a hair of one of my guys, even if it's the masseur or the kitman, I'm going," he told El Show del Futbol on America TV.

Grondona had already signalled his desire for backroom changes after admitting the AFA "had lots of problems" with one of Maradona's assistants, former Argentina defender Oscar Ruggeri.

Grondona's demand, then, that seven of his assistants be replaced was, unsurprisingly, snubbed by the football legend.

Argentina face the Republic of Ireland on 11 August in Dublin's new Aviva Stadium - the first international football match at the redeveloped Lansdowne Road site.

Although appearing defensively frail at times, Maradona's side topped Group B in South Africa with victories over Nigeria, South Korea and Greece.

They overcame Mexico 3-1 in the second round but the emphatic nature of their last-eight exit at the hands of the Germans saw Maradona's future as coach once again come into question, as critics of his tenure during his fraught qualification campaign once again rounded on him.

Since taking the job in November 2008, Maradona, considered by many as the greatest footballer in history, won eight and lost seven of his 15 games in charge of La Albiceleste.

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