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The Argentina coach denied that he has travelled to take over his good friend's national team...

Diego Maradona yesterday clarified his reasons for going to Venezuela in the middle of negotiations to decide his Argentina future, telling the Caracas public he is there to ask for advice from controversial president Hugo Chavez.

Maradona had been expected to meet with AFA chiefs this week to discuss his continuity at the head of La Seleccion, but instead jetted off to Venezuela on Tuesday, fuelling speculation that he was set to take over as coach of the national team there.

Sharing a stage with Chavez in Caracas however, the outspoken coach revealed the real reasons why he had travelled across South America.

"I have not come to Venezuela to look for work, I have come to ask my good friend Hugo advice," Dieguito insisted while Chavez laughed and applauded in the background.

"I have a meeting with [AFA head Julio] Grondona on Monday when I arrive in Buenos Aires and there my future will be decided."

'El Pelusa' was speaking at a press conference from the Palacio Miraflores, Chavez's official presidential residence. He looked relaxed and happy to chat to reporters, especially when the subject turned to the left-wing revolution that the president is committed to in Venezuela.

"It brings me great pride being at the president's side because he fights for the people, for his country and for his ideals. I will be with him until death," stated Maradona, who is also a friend of Fidel Castro and a regular critic of American 'imperialism'.

Chavez reflected Diego's praise with kind words of his own, telling the public: "In the next World Cup Venezuela are going there, and Argentina finishing champions!"

The head of state then finished the conference with his customary war cry to the Venezuelan people, with just a slight addition for the guest of honour:

"Viva socialism, viva the homeland, viva sports, viva Maradona!!!"

See the two South American leaders chat here (Spanish Only)

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