Sports book gambling fans remember Maradona as the super star of the world when he led Argentina to victory with the World Cup betting odds in 1986.
Since that epic championship run, however, Maradona has had numerous personal problems with his weight, with drugs, and with the law. During the qualifying stages of the World Cup his coaching style came off as disorganized and unstable.
Yet Argentina has made the Elite Eight of the World Cup after their 3-1 win over Mexico in the knockout stage. They will face Germany on Saturday in what looks to be a showdown for the ages. This current run has made Maradona as happy and boisterous as ever.
“I feel like I am putting on the jersey and going out on the pitch,” said Maradona. “It’s beautiful. It’s beautiful indeed.”
Maradona was always one of the most emotional figures in soccer and was never a staid presence that held his feelings in check. That has again been the case in the 2010 FIFA World Cup as he has run up and down the sideline, yelling, praying, and hugging his players.
Maradona was ridiculed by the media for using over 100 players during the qualifying stages and for his unseemly past. Most experts wrote off Argentina as a serious sports book gambling commodity. Maradona has not forgotten and has said that they should apologize.
“Many journalists should apologize to the players,” said Maradona. “I’m not suggesting you drop your trousers, but it would be honest and great so we all get along better.”
The fear that Maradona would make Argentina’s World Cup run all about himself has come true although it has become a positive rather than a negative. In a sense Maradona’s presence has helped take the pressure off his players as the spotlight is shining on him.
While there have been some volatile moments between coach and players Maradona says that it’s normal and part of the overall process and natural relationship of a team.
“My relationship with the boys is excellent,” he added.
Along with coach Maradona the Argentine team has the world’s best player in Lionel Messi, who is the playmaking leader of a talented attack that is averaging 2.5 goals per game.