Ligue 1 - Maradona ‘to hold Montpellier talks’

Diego Maradona has agreed to enter talks regarding the Montpellier job, according to a sports marketing agency that holds his image rights in France.

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Diego Maradona (Reuters)

The Argentine legend, whose managerial career has not hit the heights of his illustrious playing days, is a free agent after being sacked by Dubai’s Al Wasl last year.

And, with Rene Girard deciding to leave last season’s French champions this coming summer, it appears Montpellier are looking for a big-name replacement.

“This morning, Maradona told us he had agreed to discuss terms with Montpellier about an eventual proposal at the club’s leisure,” Youssef Haijoub, a director of sports marketing agency SGM, said.

“This afternoon we sent a fax to the club indicating that it is okay to start talks.”

SGM hold Maradona’s rights in France, giving them exclusivity in any negotiations over commercial or sporting contracts.

The agency also works with Montpellier, having organised their winter training camp in Morocco.

After their shock title win last year, Montpellier have struggled to balance Champions League football and domestic concerns this season, going out of Europe in the group stages and finding themselves 10 points behind Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain with 11 matches remaining.

Haijoub likened the proposed deal to that which brought David Beckham to PSG.

“Like Beckham’s move to PSG, why shouldn’t Montpellier have a coach with a high calibre and strong image?” he added.

Montpellier president Louis Nicollin had previously expressed tentative interest in Maradona, although the seriousness of his comment was not entirely clear.

Maradona, 52, was the world’s greatest player in his time, leading Napoli to the Serie A title and Argentina to the World Cup, feats he is regarded as having performed almost single-handedly.

But his managerial career has been chequered, with his time as Argentine boss between 2008-10 widely seen as mediocre, while Al-Wasl sacked him after just one unimpressive season.

He had been linked with the vacant Iraq national team job, but the Middle Eastern country's FA decided to give a local coach the role.

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