Maradona: I'd quit if I were Batista
© AFP

Diego Maradona has said that if he were Argentina coach Sergio Batista, he would quit following the side's early Copa America exit. The latter succeeded the former after La Albiceleste lost to Germany in the 2010 FIFA World Cup quarter-finals™.

The Argentinian Football Association (AFA) insists Batista will keep his job, despite their last-eight elimination on penalties by Uruguay. However, Maradona reckons that decision is a poor one.

"If I had only beaten Costa Rica (Argentina's sole Copa America win), I would have gone of my own accord," the 50-year-old told Radio Belgrano. "What is happening right now is not the fault of the players."

Maradona and Batista were team-mates in the side which won Mexico 1986, but the two have been at loggerheads since the 48-year-old assumed the Argentina reins.

If I had only beaten Costa Rica, I would have gone of my own accord. What is happening right now is not the fault of the players.
Diego Maradona on Sergio Batista

Just as the Copa America started, Maradona asserted Batista should not complain about being in the spotlight and if he didn't like the accompanying pressure should "cross the border to Uruguay, where nobody would recognise him," unlike his predecessor, who is instantly recognised worldwide.

"I can't speak too much as I don't see the games," admitted Maradona, who agreed to coach Al Wasl and who has been preoccupied in recent weeks with his mother's deteriorating health. Those commitments aside, he finds watching too painful.

"When the players come on to the pitch it's like a knife being twisted inside me," he said.

Maradona had blasted Batista before the Copa America after the latter drew up a preliminary squad which included neither crowd favourite Carlos Tevez nor the former coach's son-in-law, Sergio Aguero. The Manchester City man flopped, being dropped after two games before missing the crucial penalty against Uruguay which finished Argentina off. The Atletico Madrid striker did do well, though, scoring three goals.

With Batista confirmed for now at the helm, Argentina's next scheduled match is a friendly against Romania in Bucharest on 10 August. In early September they will face Venezuela in India and Nigeria in Bangladesh.