Diego Maradona says he will embrace his move away from the dug-out after he was introduced as chairman of Belarusian club Dynamo Brest at a press conference in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
The Argentine, who until last month managed UAE side Fujairah, was presented to the media at Emirates Palace hotel having signed a three-year contract last week.
Maradona has been tasked with helping Brest challenge both domestically and in Europe. His remit includes overseeing the development of the club academy as well as matters relating to the first team.
Brest sit eighth in the Belarus Premier League after seven matches of their 2018 season. However, last week they defeated domestic champions BATE Borisov 3-2 in the Belarus Cup final to reach the qualifying round of the 2018/19 Uefa Europa League.
“I have signed a contract and I’m very honoured,” said Maradona, a UAE resident since he was appointed Al Wasl manager in 2011. “I have lived beautiful times in Dubai and moving to Belarus is looking for new horizons and work. And I will do it with the same passion I did here in the UAE.”
“In my heart there is a ball beating. I can be the chairman of Dynamo Brest and of course this is a new challenge for me. From player to coach, and from coach to chairman, it’s not something that can be taught in a meeting. We will have meetings with the club and we’ll do our best with Dynamo Brest. I want a very competitive team.”
Asked if Brest could challenge in Europe, Maradona said: “I would say it, but I am not a wizard. I am a man who wants to work in football, that wants to be a chairman for the first time at Dynamo Brest. I want that the team evolve with the club, and to say that we will work very hard to achieve this. There is no other way than the hard work.”
Maradona, 57, left Fujairah on April 27 after failing to guide the UAE second-tier side to automatic promotion to the Arabian Gulf League. He was linked initially with a return to the east-coast side during a frenzied few days following his departure, but the club claimed the former World Cup winner then demanded four times his original salary.
Hence, Maradona made the unlikely move to Brest, while Fujairah clinched a place in the Arabian Gulf League by coming through a play-off with Hatta.
Maradona was appointed as Fujairah manager 12 months ago with the objective of leading the club into the Arabian Gulf League. He had previously managed Dubai’s Wasl, but was dismissed in July 2012, midway through a two-year contract.