Diego Maradona's lawyer denies Argentina legend has re-joined Fujairah as coach

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Diego Maradona's Fujairah side failed to achieve automatic promotion.

Argentina icon Diego Maradona’s unpredictable coaching career took several more twists on Monday night when his lawyer rejected an official announcement from Fujairah that they had made a U-turn and rehired his client on a one-year deal.

Maradona, 57, departed from the Wolves on Friday by “mutual agreement” after failing to secure automatic entry to the Arabian Gulf League. A disappointing 1-1 draw with 10-man Khor Fakkan had seen the club drop into the promotion play-offs during the final round of First Division League matches.

The east-coast outfit then announced a dumbfounding reconciliation at 19:30 GST on Monday that meant the ex-Boca Juniors, Barcelona and Napoli legend would take charge of the May 9 and 13 play-off clashes with Hatta, the top-flight’s bottom-placed side, and beyond.

But legal representative Matias Morla swiftly declared this update to be premature.

He tweeted: “In front of different versions that are circulating, I want to clarify that to this day, Diego Maradona did not renew his contract with the club Fujairah.”

Maradona’s UAE-based representatives confirmed to Sport360° that “up and down” talks were under way. They had no knowledge about a total agreement.

This further contradicted the earlier tweet sent by Fujairah.

It read: “Under the direction of the president of Fujairah, Diego Maradona returns to lead the Wolves in the play-offs and renews the contract for another year.”

Fujairah have lined up their former coach Ivan Hasek as an alternative option. This process follows a failure to poach Paulo Comelli from Dibba Al Fujairah.

Maradona had joined the ambitious Wolves on a one-year deal last May. News of his premature exit reverberated across the globe at the weekend.

At the Fujairah Stadium outfit, the joint FIFA Player of the Century avoided defeat throughout the regular 2017/18 campaign. In April, a creditable 4-2 loss had also been registered in the President’s Cup quarter-finals against runaway AGL champions Al Ain.

But his profligate charges was hamstrung by 11 second-division draws. The latest looked to have proved fatal as it saw Fujairah demoted to third on the final day at the expense of Ittihad Kalba, who joined champions Bani Yas back in the top flight.

Maradona’s previous posting was unceremoniously cut short by Al Wasl in July 2012, halfway through a two-year deal.

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Diego Maradona shockingly renews Fujairah contract for another year, days after being sacked

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Diego Maradona's side failed to go up automatically.

Argentina icon Diego Maradona’s unpredictable coaching career took another staggering twist on Monday night when Fujairah rehired him on a one-year contract extension just three days since the parties split in the wake of a failure to gain automatic promotion to the Arabian Gulf League.

Maradona, 57, departed from the Wolves by “mutual agreement” – according to his lawyer – less than three hours after Friday’s disappointing 1-1 draw with 10-man Khor Fakkan. This saw them drop into the promotion play-offs during the final round of First Division League matches.

But this dumbfounding reconciliation means the ex-Boca Juniors, Barcelona and Napoli legend is set to lead the east coast-club for May 9 and 13’s clashes with Hatta, the top-flight’s bottom-placed side, and beyond.

Fujairah tweeted: “Under the direction of the president of Fujairah, Diego Maradona returns to lead the Wolves in the play-offs and renews the contract for another year.”

This development follows reports that overtures to Dibba Al Fujairah supremo Paulo Comelli had been rejected.

News of Maradona’s exit had reverberated across the globe at the weekend.

A lack of clarity about the surprise decision followed, with the joint FIFA Player of the Century’s UAE-based representatives left in the dark about the Wolves’ intent. But lawyer Matias Morla insisted his celebrated client had reached a consensus to walk away before the end of his one-season contract and was not sacked.

“After today’s draw and having not achieved the goal of promotion, Diego Maradona will no longer be the coach of Fujairah,” Morla tweeted on Saturday, UAE time.

“The decision was made in mutual agreement and Diego leaves the team in a play-off situation. He wishes the best to the club that opened its doors.”

At the Fujairah Stadium-outfit, Maradona avoided defeat throughout the regular 2017/18 campaign. In April, a creditable 4-2 loss had also been registered in the President’s Cup quarter-finals against runaway AGL champions Al Ain.

But his profligate side was hamstrung by 11 second-division draws. The latest looked to have proved fatal as it saw Fujairah demoted to third on the final day at the expense of Ittihad Kalba, who joined champions Bani Yas back in the top flight.

Maradona’s previous posting was unceremoniously cut short by Al Wasl in July 2012, halfway through a two-year deal.

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Al Ain sensation Marcus Berg and Al Jazira renegade Lassana Diarra feature in AGL season review

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Al Ain lift the Arabian Gulf League trophy (PLC).

Another season has passed in the Arabian Gulf League and the time has come to pore over the last seven months of action.

Al Ain’s charge to a record-extending 13th title stole the headlines, with the club winding up their dominant campaign on Sunday with a memorable coronation.

But it is not only the Boss who impressed throughout. Promoted Ajman defied their yo-yo reputation to stick around for 2018/19, while UAE coach Alberto Zaccheroni will be pleased to see several fresh options emerging ahead of the Asian Cup on home soil in January.

Here are the winners – and one loser – from Sport360’s annual awards.

TEAM OF THE SEASON

There is only one place to start and that is Al Ain – the Boss truly lived up to their nickname.

They bought superbly with Sweden No9 Marcus Berg and Egypt revelation Hussein El Shahat, remained undefeated until February and scored 15 more goals than anyone else. Coach Zoran Mamic must be fulsomely praised for landing the club’s first silverware since August 2015, with a game to spare.

PLAYER OF THE SEASON

Several pretenders have come and gone for Al Ain since the departure of legendary striker Asamoah Gyan in July 2015.

In Marcus Berg, they’ve finally got an appropriate replacement. The €3.3 million (Dh14.7m) summer buy from Panathinaikos won the Golden Boot with 25 goals in 21 matches, plus became the top assist maker with 10.

Al Ain - Marcus Berg

EMIRATI OF THE SEASON

The monopoly held by Al Ain playmaker Omar Abdulrahman and Al Jazira hot shot Ali Mabkhout was broken by Al Nasr warrior Khalifa Mubarak.

The giant centre-back, 24, came into his own for club and country this season. His worth at the heart of the third-meanest defence became truly apparent when mentor Ivan Jovanovic was rehired in January – six clean sheets from nine games were then registered.

COACH OF THE SEASON

For all the success of Mamic, the greatest cheer must be reserved for Ajman’s Ayman Elramady.

Few held any hope for the Orange Brigade when their return to the top flight after two seasons away began with four successive defeats. But their Egyptian supremo engendered a belief that carried them all the way to eighth place – a second-best finish of the professional era.

SIGNING OF THE SEASON

It is no stretch of the imagination to say that January’s decision to ditch Brazilian striker Douglas in the final days of the transfer window and capture Egypt utility man Hussein El Shahat defined Al Ain’s campaign.

With the 26-year-old in their ranks, the Boss won nine out of 11 engagements. This run from him included seven goals and nine assists.

Al Nasr vs Al ain agl 21 2017-18 (21)

GAME OF THE SEASON

Al Ain 6-2 Al Wahda will live long in the collective memory of UAE football. An increasingly bitter and tense rivalry was played out in full technicolour at a raucous Hazza bin Zayed Stadium on March 1.

It featured Wahda reversing a 2-0 deficit by 70 minutes, before a pair of red cards and four further goals sent the baying hosts into ecstasy.

REVELATION OF THE SEASON

Before 2017/18 began, Rayan Yaslam had started just two games for Al Ain in six seasons among the first team.

He ended a breakthrough campaign with 20 appearances, 16 starts, four assists, four goals and a prominent role earned for both club and country. This helped limit the damage caused by a mundane campaign from Abdulrahman.

DISAPPOINTMENT OF THE SEASON

Al Jazira’s summer recruitment drive unfortunately provides a plethora of contenders, but Lassana Diarra is first in line.

The ex-France and Real Madrid anchorman was meant to add gravitas ahead of a Club World Cup run on home soil. Instead, a contractual dispute meant the last of five forgettable top-flight run-outs came in early November.

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