Maradona eager to stamp mark in Dubai

Argentine legend conducts first training session with new club Al Wasl

Former Argentina coach Diego Maradona hit the ground running barely 24 hours after his arrival in Dubai to take charge of UAE Pro-League club Al Wasl.

The 50-year-old World Cup led the ambitious Emirati club in training on Thursday with a huge media throng watching on after arriving late on Wednesday night.

“I am more than excited to be back and I am anxious to start working with the team,” Maradona told reporters.

“I have been constantly thinking of different training methods and new strategies while I was away, even while I was on the plane.

"There are new ideas formulating in my head and I can’t wait to start implementing them on the ground.”

Al Wasl chairman Marwan bin Bayat said the presence of Maradona was great for Dubai and UAE football.

“Maradona is not only a guest of Al Wasl, but for Dubai as a whole," bin Bayat said.

"As such, we are absolutely certain that he will love his new home and can speak for the entire city when we say, ‘We are happy to have you here’.”

Speculation was rife last month with word going out that Maradona may take over the national team following Argentina's dismal performance under Sergio Batista during the Copa America.

During the course of his stay in Argentina, Maradona was involved in a minor car accident and spent much of his time by the bedside of his ailing mother Dalma Franco, who was on a ventilator in a Buenos Aires hospital.

During Thursday night's training, Maradona was joined by his assistants Ali Hassan, a former UAE national team player, Héctor Enrique and Torito, along with fitness coach Xavier Vilamitjana.

Maradona's hand was evident in Al Wasl signing Uruguayan striker Juan Manuel Olivera from Penarol last week.

With Francisco Yeste and Alexandre Oliveira having departed and Omani defender Mohammed Al Shaiba joining as the club’s alloted Asian player, there is room in the squad for one more foreign acquisition.

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