Copyright REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian
The excitement was palpable. Fans of La Plata’s club Gimnasia arrived in droves to welcome Diego Maradona as the club’s new coach. More than 30,000 fans attended the football legend’s welcome ceremony at the Del Bosque stadium.
Argentina’s “Golden Boy” was appointed last week to take over the reins of the legendary club, but Gimnasia La Plata has lived better days.
Its fame arises from their three-second division championship titles (1944, 1947, 1952) as well as its victory at the 1994 Centenary Cup — a competition organised to commemorate the 100 years of Argentina’s first division.Now, however, the team, known as El Lobo or The Wolf, are lying bottom of Argentina’s Primera Division.
For his return in Argentina nine years after leaving his post as the head coach of the national team, Maradona made a tearful entrance for his first training session with the team.
At a press conference, the former Napoli player was still very emotional. “Today, I felt like I was in paradise when the entire stadium started chanting ‘Diego, Diego.”
The football prodigy added: “I can’t promise anything, I’m not a magician. If it was the case, today’s welcome would be enough to achieve the objective. It will take more than that.”
The 1986 World Cup-winning captain previously managed Mexico’s second division club Dorados de Sinaloa but left in June blaming issues with his health
Maradona, will lead the club until the end of the season. His mission will be to avoid the relegation of the oldest team in the championship.