Football: Maradona's Napoli dream still alive

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The remarkable notion of Diego Maradona becoming both president and coach of the Italian Serie A club, Napoli, has not - yet - been dismissed as fantasy.

Maradona's manager, Guillermo Coppola, said this week that discussions to allow the former captain of Argentina to take over at Napoli have been "positive."

Coppola spoke on his return from Italy, where he negotiated on behalf of Maradona, and added that the club have proposed a deal to bring the 1986 World Cup winner back to the city where he played from 1984 to 1991.

Napoli, who won their only two Serie A titles with Maradona in 1987 and 1990 but later sued him, are bottom of the top flight, having lost eight of their last nine games. "This is going to be settled in the first days of January. It all depends on whether Napoli's president, Corrado Ferlaino, is willing to give away his club shares," Coppola said.

"Maradona's offer is real. If Ferlaino sells [his shares], Diego will take care of Napoli's football activities and will have absolute powers."

Earlier in the week Maradona had said that his appointment as president and coach of Napoli "is almost 60 per cent a fact".

Despite helping the club to the Uefa Cup in 1989 as well as two titles, Maradona often feuded with club management. In March 1991, he tested positive for cocaine during a routine drug test and was banned - not for the last time- from football for 15 months. In December 1990, Napoli sued their star player, claiming that his behaviour had damaged the club's reputation.


The experienced German coach, Udo Lattek, has been offered the chance to take Iran to this year's World Cup finals, Bild newspaper reported yesterday.

Lattek, 62, said he met Iranian officials on Tuesday and Wednesday in Tehran and is considering their proposal. "There are several things I must discuss," he said. "My family would not be able to come to Iran with me... and then there is the language problem."

Lattek, who has coached Bayern Munich, Borussia Monchengladbach and Barcelona, has not been employed in club football since a spell at Schalke 04 ended in 1993. He currently works as a summariser for a sports television channel. Iran have spent over a month looking for a new coach to replace the Brazilian, Valdeir Vieira, who led them to the finals.