Diego Maradona’s appointment at Dynamo Brest is "win-win" for the club and Belarusian football, according to their vice-president Valdas Ivanauskas.
The Belarus Premier League side announced earlier this month that they had reached an agreement with Maradona to become their chairman on a three-year deal, with the Argentine officially introduced to the media last week at Emirates Palace hotel.
The World Cup winner, 57, joined Brest only weeks after parting company with Fujairah. Appointed as manager 12 months previously, Maradona failed to guide the First Division club to automatic promotion to the Arabian Gulf League.
The former Argentina national team manager, who also spent 14 months in charge of Dubai’s Al Wasl between 2011 and 2012, will begin his latest role immediately following the upcoming Fifa World Cup, where he is working as a pundit for Venezuelan television.
Ivanauskas would not disclose the financial details of the Maradona deal, but when asked if his new employee’s reputation guaranteed a return for Brest’s investment, he said: “Of course. Everybody has opinions about Diego. For us, it’s just win. We can’t lose. We need to take from Diego his experience. Not just as a player; as a player he’s a legend. But also how he works with the Argentina national team, how he worked here in the Emirates and in other countries. For us it’s the experience. It’s a good deal and everybody is very, very lucky.”
Ivanauskas said Brest first approached Fujairah late last year to arrange friendlies between the two clubs. However, once Maradona’s departure was confirmed, they moved quickly to secure his services.
Currently eighth in the Belarusian top flight, Brest are seeking to increase their standing in Europe and around the world. On May 19, they retained the Belarusian Cup to progress to the play-offs for the 2018/19 Europa League. The first match of their two-legged qualifier takes place on July 26.
Ivanauskas said Brest have no plans “at this stage” for Maradona to manage the first team, although his remit is to develop all facets of the club from academy level upwards.
“We saw the chance to take Diego, which you have maybe one time in your life, we got him and for us was a very, very big opportunity," Ivanauskas said. "Also for the players and for everybody in Belarus. Diego is the name, Diego is chairman, Diego is boss. And we think the experience he can give them, as a player, a coach, a manager and also an ambassador of the world, is very important for us.”
On Maradona’s declaration that Brest could sign a number of Emirati players, Ivanauskas added: “We welcome that. We were talking with Diego some days ago and he knows exactly our situation with the team and he knows exactly what we need.
“Diego’s thinking about [signing Emiratis], but for now he’s concentrating on our team and also his commitments for the World Cup. We have a little bit of time before the Europa League qualifier, so if Diego says ‘this player can help us’, they’re welcome.”