Four years is a pretty long time to forget a slight. Not so, it seems, for football legend Diego Maradona, who still hasn’t forgiven the Argentine Football Association (AFA) for having fired him after the 2010 World Cup.
The 53-year-old’s strained relationship with the association was apparent during an and that was apparent during an interview with German sports weekly Sport Bild. The legend lashed out at the AFA, saying: “The current leaders of the association understand as much about football as Pakistan does.”
Diego Maradona. File Pic/AFP
Despite being one of the game’s greatest players, having led Argentina to World Cup glory in 1986, it was his failure as a national coach in the 2010 World Cup, where the team crashed out in the quarterfinals following a 4-0 defeat to Germany that rankles him.
The former Napoli star was hopeful that the AFA would continue with him as coach and let him rectify his mistakes, but that was not to be.
That decision led to Maradona launching a sensational attack on AFA president Julio Grondona and director of national teams Carlos Bilardo, claiming he was "lied to" and "betrayed" and effectively sacked from the role.
In his latest interview with Sport Bild, Maradona once again hits out at his former employer.
“The AFA has played dirty tricks on me. I should have also been the Argentina coach at the  World Cup. But the current leaders of the association understand as much about football as Pakistan does,” Maradona said.
"They don’t have a clue at all. To clarify: There are certainly many good things in Pakistan, but I have never seen them play a World Cup final. I say: The current association leaders in Argentina are the same as Pakistan."
Maradona has also refused to call any one team as favourites to lift the World Cup, although he feels that “should Neymar be the best player at the World Cup, then Brazil will probably win the title.”
He was quoted by the weekly as saying, “But it will be extremely difficult for Brazil to win the World Cup. Neymar is an extraordinary player, but he also needs 10 teammates at his side. For (Brazil coach Luiz Felipe) Scolari it is very difficult to find the ideal XI. His predecessors did not have those problems.”