Diego Maradona ‘pleased to get back to coaching’ after agreeing one-year deal with Fujairah

Diego Maradona says a desire to return to management and the ambitious project at Fujairah convinced him to join the club as manager for next season.

Diego Maradona at Fujairah Stadium the day after he was announced as the club's new manager. AFP
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Diego Maradona says a desire to return to management and the ambitious project at Fujairah convinced him to join the club as manager for next season.

The Argentine, who has been out of football since leaving Al Wasl in 2012, was confirmed as the east coast side's new manager on Sunday night having agreed to a one-year contract.

Fujairah are currently in the First Division, the second tier in UAE football, after missing out on an immediate return to the Arabian Gulf League this campaign, when they finished fourth.


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Maradona, 56, will be charged with earning the top-two finish next season that would guarantee Fujairah a place back in the top flight. The former Argentina national team manager, who spent 14 months at Wasl from May 2011, will be formally introduced as Fujairah’s manager at a press conference on Saturday.

"I am pleased to get back to coaching, having managed Al Wasl in the past," Maradona told Al Ittihad newspaper. "During my meeting with the club's officials, they showed great optimism as well as the desire to get the team back into the professional league. They also expressed interest in their young players whom they saw as the team's main pillar for next season."

Fujairah were last in the Arabian Gulf League two seasons ago, when they finished second bottom and were therefore relegated. Maradona has signed a deal through to the conclusion of the 2017/18 season, however, should the move prove a success, there is an option to extend the agreement.

Just to confirm: This is Diego #Maradona — yes, *that* Diego Maradona — at @Fuj_FC. One-year contract. @NatSportUAE pic.twitter.com/8uTj4iPdcS

“When we met with the legendary Diego Maradona and shared with him our project and our dreams, he showed great enthusiasm,” said Sheikh Maktoum bin Hamad Al Sharqi, chairman of Fujairah Football Club.

“As a big star, he always likes to take on new challenges, shows great determination and has many achievements both as player and as coach. So why not relive with Fujairah FC his achievements with Napoli, who he led to victory twice in the Italian league and in the Uefa Cup?

“Having Diego Maradona is undoubtedly a great asset for Fujairah FC, but also for football in general. He is a significant addition that will boost enthusiasm for the amateur league and he will attract the audience to the stadium, and the interest of global media in the championship. Indeed, the name of Maradona is worth much in the game, both as a player and a coach.

“The negotiations with Maradona did not take long. Once he knew of our plans for the future and he visited the club and inspected our facilities, he was keen to accept our offer and signed the contract that will open the most important chapter of Fujairah’s return to the professional league.”


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