Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Diego: "To beat us they'll have to leave their skin"

Four days after arriving in Pretoria, Diego Armando MARADONA has finally spoken to the press. Together with team captain Javier MASCHERANO, Diego spoke for about half an hour at a press conference.

As usual here on Mundo Albiceleste, you get the full translation and transcript of the entire press conference in English and before you will read it anywhere else.


On having been in a World Cup-winning side as a player:

"I know what it is to be a world champion because we won it in 1986 and I think my players deserve to get to that final match. They are training as hard as they can. They are giving me their all. They are very focused. With what they are showing me and with God's help, we are going to have a great World Cup. I've said this many times, I would put my hands in the fire for these 23 players. These players are a pleasure to train".

"Today I try to pass on to my players what I felt as a player. Back in 1986 we were surrounded by doubts. Today, these players have a much better level than what we had in 1986. Players these days understand things right away, much faster than what we did in 1986."

On the importance of being already in South Africa:

"We all needed these few days in Pretoria. We had very little time to be together during the World Cup Qualifiers. We wanted to be together. We wanted to train and solidify some concepts we've been talking about during the qualifiers, because we would talk about those concepts but then the players would join their clubs again and it was impossible for us to show our stuff on the pitch. Now we are here fully committed to our training and we are completely focused".

"I'm very happy for the training sessions we are having. For sharing every minute with my players. We know we had a great farewell when we left Ezeiza and as a team we had a great match against Canada. Those who know about football in Argentina (Note: Diego being sarcastic when saying this), were saying Canada were too easy. But then Spain had to sweat to beat Saudi Arabia 3-2. Those who know football in Argentina said we have beaten nobody".

"I'm happy with my present. This is a wonderful job. I have built a very good group of human beings and we are very pleased with them".

On a picture with his grandson that he brought to the table for the press conference:

"This picture in which I'm with my grandson Benjamín (note: The son of Sergio AGÜERO and Giannina MARADONA) is the first one I've got with him on a playing field. This picture will be with me during the entire World Cup. We will let Benjamín decide if he wants to be a football player in the future. But with the father he's got and with his granpa...what are we going to give him as presents? A baseball bat?"

"Written on the picture's frame it says: "Grandfathers take their grandsons to the park, instead, you are taking me to the World Cup". That's something that thrills me".

On Felipe MELO's controversial quote about Argentina:

"I don't think about what Felipe MELO (BRA) said (note: MELO said "Argentina will advance in the World Cup all the way up to the match in which they will have to face Brazil. That will be the end of Argentina"). I'm thinking about MASCHERANO, BOLATTI, ROMERO...Felipe MELO does not provoke me at all. My body and soul are busy constructing the team we all want to see".

On whether he is worried to get to the debut v. Nigeria 18 days after their last friendly:

"I'm not worried by the fact of getting to our debut v. Nigeria without having played a friendly in 18 days. Our training sessions will take us to a level you can't reach by playing a friendly and by playing a friendly you risk getting some players injured".

"We are in a good place when it comes to what we have planed before the World Cup. Now we have time to plan accordingly for the match against Nigeria. The starting XI will be confirmed shortly before the game. My players are giving me a hard time picking the starting lineup. But that's a beautiful problem to have. Because my players are all giving their everything to fight for a place in the team. We are seeing some players that are taking that quality leap that is very important. Some people were saying they were not good enough for the national team and today they are true gems. Not to mention those players that are already established as world class".

On the fact that historically, whenever an Argentine goes abroad and says he is from Argentina, people would say: "Argentina? MARADONA!" and now they are already saying: "Argentina? MARADONA and MESSI" and how does that feel for him and for MESSI:

"I would add Che GUEVARA to that list too. We all do our best to make history and to represent our country abroad. We are now walking together with MESSI and trying to help him so he can be the cream of the crop and win us some World Cup matches".

On whether they have something to do with a group of 23 hooligans being on their same flight to South Africa. Julio GRONDONA and the national government have declared they had nothing to do with those violent fans travelling to South Africa. And today, one of those hooligans said they were dealing directly with Diego MARADONA and Carlos BILARDO and that they have been travelling with the team everywhere since MARADONA took charge of the national team:

"I didn't pay for my dad to come to South Africa, how would I pay to bring people like them?"

"We had planed to travel to Dubai chartering a plane and then fly to Pretoria. When that friendly was cancelled, we had to run like crazy to find tickets elsewhere and we bought those tickets with South African Airways. So in reality, it was us who got in the fans' flight and not the other way around, but if they are barrabravas (hooligans), I don't know. Because we made our VIP entrance and didn't have contact with the rest of the passengers. I stayed on my seat, watching a movie (Note: apparently the movie was "Invictus"), but the movie was in English and when I was growing up English had still to reach Villa Fiorito (laughs). So I slept most of the flight and woke up when we were arriving in South Africa. I have no relationship with this hooligans. If they want fame, tell them to go to work. Nobody will access our training camp. Tell them that Diego Armando MARADONA won't let anybody in. Tell them to get an umbrella in case it rains".

"Julio GRONDONA never told me anything about us flying with fans or something like that. That subject was not discussed at all. I can assure you of that".

On whether he feels him and his team are unanimously supported in Argentina:

"I don't feel an unanimous support. We feel supported to each other. There were lots of opinions that could have been more measured. They were coming from some people that used to play for the national team. But let them be. We swore to each other to train, correct some mistakes and build up our team spirit. We need to overcome those first matches v. Nigeria, South Korea and Greece and then we need to think about writing some golden pages in the history of Argentine football".

On how he sees his players in training:

"I'm even scared of talking about my team. Because our training sessions so far in Pretoria have been scary good. I'm frightened by what my players are showing me. All Argentina fans must rest assured because to beat this team, our rivals will have to run more than usual and will have to leave their skins on the field. And when we attack them, they better be ready for it".


On the importance of being in South Africa with some time to work ahead of the World Cup:

"Diego was very clear. We had just a few days in Argentina. Especially with the last three players who joined us after the UEFA Champions League final (note: Diego MILITO, Walter SAMUEL and Martín DEMICHELIS). We had very few training sessions. All the anxiety and the craziness with which the World Cup is lived in Argentina, left us with very little privacy. It was important for us to arrive in South Africa and be able to share more time together".

On why didn't the players or the coaching staff talk to the media since arriving in South Africa:

"Diego decided to have this press conference today. On Thursday there will be another opportunity for the press to talk to the players. We can't be talking to the media every day. This is a long process and, God willing, we are going to reach the final day. But the important thing during these first few days was to find some time for us and concentrate on what we came here for".

On the differences in the build up for Germany 2006 and this for South Africa 2010:

"In Germany it was hot and here it's cold (laughs). It's difficult to compare these squad with the one from four years ago because they are very different. We've got a great group of human beings. From number 1 to number 23, we are all very focused. There is a lot of competition for places, but it's a good competition. One that will help us get to our debut v. Nigeria at our highest level when it comes to motivation".

On the hooligans fiasco:

"We haven't spoken about the hooligan's fiasco at all. We were given our tickets, we got in the plane and we made our way to South Africa. The rest of the passengers in that flight had nothing to do with us. We have a World Cup coming up, which is far too important and we are not thinking about external issues. We haven't discussed what happened and we won't discuss it either. All that matters to us is to train as hard as we can and to get to our match v. Nigeria at our best".


Anonymous said...

They seem pretty focused. I like that

Anonymous said...

maradonas romantic way of thinking is very good it installs a lost belief in argentina of what it is to be argentine and a argentine footballer and he quickly brought chi into it i love that about diego he believes in the gods thats a good thing players today are too spoilt and too selfish i wouldnt be suprised if diego has opened his heart regarding his own sins and wasted time etc and his telling the players that the time is now you get one chance you can never ever turn back the clock im sure his put that in there heads you look at the mixture of fighters and wonder players he has if they click its going to be amassing iv had a funny feeling for a while that all the past world cup bull shit is going to be wiped away and argentina are going to put themselves on top in a big big way forget that crappy 2002 world cup with a poor brazil facing the weakest german side ever in the final forget the joke that was italy vs france 4 years ago and argentinas fiasco vs the dirty germans the fact veron has done so well in his mid 30s and is going to be the teams tactical leader seems all set for some served cold revenge,training like this and the pashion shown by the players is looking very tasty as italy spain england etc go around playing these freindlys and looking terrible in the process i dont just want them to win i want them to destroy all who stand in there way and i want brazil so so so badly i do not want a easy root to final i want argentina wiping aside anyone and i want brazil s blood badly i want themm to pay like they did in the olyimpics humiliated and reduced to showing there true colours.rivaldo and the rolling around on the ground wen the ball hit his shin 2002 i want them fucks so badly iv never in all my 38 years on this planet seen luck like what brazil get in tournaments im sick and tired of it i want the truth revealed this summer argentina the gods of football all the youth cups the olyimpics the copas the south american champians leagues boca history river history estuianties the argentina players involved in every big win in europe this season

french league spain league uefa and champs league tevez show at man city

there the best now go destroy with out mercy and get what is rightfully yours ARGENTINA

rey said...

wow!!!! great comment (2nd comment by annonymous)excellent...

you are right!!! lets win it.. some good focus by maradona, not letting the players talk to the press!! and training hard..

I am with you... lets face the so called big teams and wipe them out...

Anonymous said...

I have a funny feeling lately, that Argentina will win the world cup this year...

Anonymous said...

Maradona always be centre of the stages. I remember when Roberto Ayala commented Maradona appointment for NT job. He said, el pelusa the only one who can absorp all the burden of the team. He did that when was a player. Again, Maradona do this as a coach. We can see that for all through the years. Pundits, media, even Argentina fans criticise him very hard. But, with the craziest way he does, he confront and swallowing it all. His coaching methode also interesting. Not like other teams, no one knows how he handle the team in Pretoria. As I remember, this is never happened before (Basile, Bielsa, Pasarella, Pekerman). Let's hope this time, the team more focused and unite.


GK said...

I always have, and always will have faith and hope for any Argentina squad to represent the shirt but I can't lie, I lost a lot of confidence in the team during qualification. I don't know if I am just getting World Cup fever from all the excitement but the way Diego is handling the press and the way he describes our training sessions is getting me more and more excited each day. Group B will be a walk in the park for us and after that whoever stands in our way will be going home.

I'm excited.
I have hope.
I have faith.
And I beleieve in the Albiceleste!


p2bn said...

Exactly like the guys said. There was god damn a lot of frustration during the qualification and all the hard times even under maradona after such hopes. But everything is gone now guys. My brother just bought an Argentina Flag and its in our room; flying it outside the window might be not the best idea in England. I am surprised we even could buy a flag. So anyway, forget everything else, time to set the focus and believe. This is it. I have promised to have a tattoo of diego, messi and che if we win the world cup. Some people might have problem with che but he was a man with a dream and heck no one is perfect ;)

Vamos Argentina

Alex Camacho said...

Anyone who thinks Pastore has a shot starting in place of Veron is crazy... See below.


Anonymous said...

With all do respects Alex, it was a given that Pastore would not push Veron out of his spot. But also do not rely on a Bleacher Report article, because anybody can really write for them. Just look at the article and who wrote it "Argentina Fan"

Anonymous said...




on another note, boca is coming to Melbourne to play a friendly in july... fuk, i hate boca, but i did pick up a boca top last time i was argentina, so i guess i better wear it proud.....


Seba, is there any were i can watch the press conference thanks loco

Argentina4life said...

Really nice to read maradona's interview. it gave me pleasure read his opinion . anyways p2bn are you english or u r just living there??? and nice to know we can get ARGENTINA'S FLAG there in england.... VAMOS ARGENTINA!!!

p2bn said...

Just living here in England. Yes it was a nice surprise to find Argentina Flag when it was impossible to find a proper sized shirt. And its huge. 8 days is tooo long to wait man.

Vamos Argentina!!!!

hugo said...

Is this magical realism trying its luck in futbol? After the scientific efficiency of Bielsa/Pekerman, is now the turn of inspiration?

Anonymous said...

Diego has these things: he has a big mouth, he says whatever he wants, we all know it. I truly respect him for his honesty. And what an inspired conference he gave! I was surprised to hear a great motivator in his speech; and that is what we really need: a team that works together to perfection. 23 individuals oiled as a machine in absolute harmony... If this happens (and i am praying to God it does) oh, boy! what a WC we could have! CAN'T WAIT... VAMOSSS ARGENTINA!!!

Mohd said...


Argentina4life said...

yes brothe only 8 days to go now..... cant wait!!! VAMOS ARGENTINA!!!!

Anonymous said...

I can't wait either! This is the time I like the most: 2-3 weeks prior to the World Cup. So much excitement, so much hope!
My daughter has been pestering me with "if Argentina has to play USA, which one will you root for?" How can I explain to a 7 year old that never lived in Argentina what this passion is all about? It is impossible! You can't explain it unless you have lived it!


Sebastian said...

Perhaps this could help you fight the anxiety!


A great archive for past Argentina FULL matches (WC, WCQ, Youth WC, friendlies, etc).

Haven't tried it myself, but looks great. It's got 7 pages of videos of Argentina.

Perhaps you want to give it a try.

Alex Camacho said...

Another Alex from Argentina in the USA? What are the odds?

Anonymous said...

Greece had lost to Paraguay 0:2! i have heard they played awful. all they will do at the wc is stand with ten men in their penalty area.


Anonymous said...

Greece had lost to Paraguay 0:2! i have heard they played awful. all they will do at the wc is stand with ten men in their penalty area.


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