Diego Maradona is widely believed to be one of the best football players ever. He helped lead Argentina to victory in the 1986 World Cup. But like many former star players of the sport known as soccer in the United States, he has not done as well as a coach.
Last month, the 57-year-old from Argentina stepped down as coach of a football team in the United Arab Emirates. He also coached the Argentina national team from 2008-2010.
Now, the 1986 World Cup champion has moved on to Belarus.
This week, Maradona joined the Dynamo Brest football club in the Belarusian Premier League. However, he serves as the club chairman and not as a coach.
In a statement on their website in May, the club said, "Diego Maradona will supervise areas of the club's strategic development and also cooperate with its structural departments, including the Academy of Dynamo Brest."
Maradona thanked the club in a post on the social media website Instagram. He published a photograph of himself with his new contract, seated on a white leather couch with a Belarusian flag over it.
Dynamo Brest has won the Belarus Cup twice in 2007 and 2017. They also won the country's Super Cup this year. The team placed fourth in last year’s national championship.
Soccer observers were surprised by the former soccer great’s decision.
Manuel Veth, editor in chief of the Futbolgrad website, expressed his surprise on Twitter.
Others on social media expressed surprise and happiness over the news.
"Maradona is ours!" one user from Brest wrote on Twitter.
"Lost for words," Sergey Erm wrote on Facebook.
As a player, Maradona may be most remembered for his "Hand of God" goal against England at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.
He was thrown out of the 1994 World Cup in the United States after failing a drug test. Drug abuse and weight issues have troubled him since his playing days.
Maradona has befriended controversial leaders as well, including Cuba’s Fidel Castro and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. In 2017, Maradona met Russian President Vladimir Putin, who he said "can bring peace to many in this world."
I’m Jonathan Evans.
Tony Wesolowsky reported this story for RFE/RL. Jonathan Evans adapted his report for Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.
Words in This Story
contract – n. a legal agreement between people, companies, etc.
strategic – adj. of or relating to a general plan that is created to achieve a goal in war, politics, etc., usually over a long period of time
controversial – adj. relating to or causing much discussion, disagreement, or argument