Maradona offers to manage Argentina for free after World Cup 2018 flop

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The Albiceleste icon was a passionate supporter on Russian soil this summer and admits he would happily step back into a coaching post if asked

Diego Maradona has offered to manage Argentina for free in the wake of their disappointing showing at World Cup 2018.

The Albiceleste headed to Russia as outsiders for global glory, but were expected to go well if they could bring the best out of mercurial forward Lionel Messi.

The Barcelona superstar was unable to provide the spark required of him, with too much expectation placed on the shoulders of one player as those around him struggled.

Argentina did stumble their way through to the last 16, but Jorge Sampaoli faced intense criticism before and after a thrilling 4-3 second round defeat to France.

His future is now being seriously called into question, along with that of Messi, with it expected that a new era in Argentine football will soon be opened.

Maradona would jump at the chance to join that project if asked, with the 1986 World Cup winner prepared to work without payment for the good of his country.

He told Telesur: “Yes, and I would do it for free.

“I wouldn't ask for anything in return.”

Maradona has already spent one spell at the Argentina helm, with that stint taking in the 2010 World Cup.

He was unable to replicate the success of his playing days in a coaching capacity, with a 4-0 defeat to Germany suffered at the quarter-final stage.

An iconic figure has, however, remained a passionate follower of his nation’s fortunes and was a lively presence in the stands throughout their campaign in Russia.

Diego Maradona 2018 World Cup

His antics often saw him make headlines for all of the wrong reasons, with his goal celebrations and general health called into question, but he has always been quick to hit back at his critics.

That remains the case as Russia 2018 continues without Argentina, with an all-time great eager to point out that he never wanted to see his country fail despite what some might think.

He added: “People think I am happy but my heart is heavy.

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“I feel really bad that everything we built with so much effort we destroyed so easily.”

Whoever guides Argentina forward, their focus is already starting to shift towards future challenges.

A Copa America quest is to be taken in on Brazilian soil in 2019, while another qualification campaign will need to be successfully negotiated if the Albiceleste are to be back in the hunt for World Cup glory at Qatar 2022.

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