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Maradona extends contract with Gimnasia y Esgrima

Argentina great Diego Maradona has signed a contract extension as coach of Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata until the end of the 2021 season, the team announced on Wednesday.

Gimnasia paid tribute to the iconic former player and captain of the Argentina side that won the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, describing him as “God”.

“For us you are one more Tripero and your heart is as blue and white as ours,” said Gimnasia on social media, referring to the club’s nickname, which means the gut-handlers, and the team’s colors.

Maradona joined the first division strugglers in September 2019 and guided them to seven wins and eight defeats in 20 matches, with five draws.

He resigned in November but two days later changed his mind and announced he was returning.

Ultimately, they were saved from relegation by the coronavirus pandemic and the Argentine federation’s decision to cancel the season.

Maradona, who will turn 60 in October, wrote on social media: “Today is the Wolf’s birthday,” referring to another of Gimnasia’s nicknames.

Maradona’s previous contract was due to run out in August but news of the new deal came on the day the club, one of the oldest in Argentina, celebrated its 133rd birthday.

Considered one of the greatest players of all time, Maradona’s coaching career has not matched his playing exploits.

He led Argentina to the quarter-finals of the 2014 World Cup but since then has coached in the less glamorous environments of Al Fujairah in the UAE second division and Dorados in the Mexican second tier.

He is perhaps most famous, though, for his notorious “Hand of God” goal to knock England out of the 1986 World Cup.

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