Maradona denies quit reports

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The Independent Online

Diego Maradona has denied reports he is set to quit as Argentina coach, insisting his comments have been misinterpreted.

There had been speculation Maradona would resign, following his announcement that he would meet with Argentina football association president Julio Grondona and would only continue if certain terms are met.

However, the 48-year-old, who only took over a year ago, claims his words have been twisted by the press.

"I'm not giving up nor am I going. I never said I could resign," Maradona told a press conference. "I'm asking the press for a bit of respect.

"I only said that after the qualifiers I had to meet with Julio Grondona to talk about what happened during the whole of this year.

"It was you who said about resigning.

"I had to organise a meeting with the players to tell them that this wasn't true because a journalist told (Martin) Demichelis and he asked me afterwards.

"The day I have to leave I will say.

"I could at this moment have been smoking a cigar rather than talking to you. I did it because I respect your work and because it's my work."

One of Maradona's chief gripes is thought to be with technical director Carlos Bilardo.

The pair reportedly barely speak to each other, with Maradona unhappy at the former Argentina coach's interference in team affairs.

Argentina go into Saturday's qualifier against Peru on a run of four defeats in the last five games, and currently lie in the play-off position in the South American zone.

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