...Diego Maradona! [singlepic id=28 w=200 h=150 float=center]
What? No Good? Ok, let me back it up a bit and explain.
The coaching carousel is alive and well in soccer. Jose Mourinho to Real Madrid. Rafa Benitez to Inter Milan. Roy Hodgson to Liverpool. Just to name a few recent moves. And there's one vacancy that will dictate a waterfall of coaching moves - the opening at Aston Villa.
Here's what's happening:
- Bob Bradley, the current United States Mens National Team (USMNT) coach, has a contract with the USMNT that expires 31-Dec-10 (but is no doubt flexible).
- Maradona has publicly stated he wants the Villa job, but the English Premier League / media would never allow it (see God, Hand of).
- Jurgen Klinsman, ex-player and coach of the German National Team pseudo-wants the USMNT job (and the USA wants him!).
Still with me? Good. So, here what happens next:
- Bob Bradley will leave the USMNT and head overseas to coach Aston Villa. And, good for him, really. It's a good fit.
- Klinsman and Sunil Gulati (President, United States Soccer Federation) will go around in circles playing catch-me-if-you-can (Klinsman wanting authority in writing, Gulati teasing Klinsman with verbal agreements).
- With the Villa opening now closed, Maradona will shift his attention elsewhere, landing on the USMNT opening.
- Klinsman will remain in Los Angeles.
Done laughing yet?
How about now? Ok, good.
Do you now see the unbelievable fit this couple would be? Let's count the ways:
- Maradona brings flair to the pitch, both emotional and talent.
- Maradona brings experience to the players, both as a coach and as a player.
- Maradona brings a lifestyle and past that even Bill Simmons would have fun following.
- Maradona brings instant global exposure to the USMNT.
- Maradona brings continued global exposure to the USMNT leading up to the 2014 World Cup.
- Maradona will have the American public talking about soccer. All the time. (Not always for the right reasons.)
- He's a Britney Spears story in the making: Unreal success at a young age followed by unreal weight gain and 'experimentation' followed by a flash of success followed with...?
That's just seven. There's so much more to be written and discussed and filmed and photographed.
Simmons talks about his unintentional comedy scale - this one would tip the charts, weekly.
I read about this idea earlier in an August NYTimes.com article. Buried at the bottom of the article was this line:
Should Maradona’s name be among the candidates the U.S. Soccer president, Sunil Gulati, is presumably considering?
I can't get that image out of my head. Maradona, guiding the USMNT to its finest finish ever in World Cup play, while giving the American public a reason to follow the team's Lombard Street-like entertainment and progression.
How could this not work?