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Benitez backs Maradona to make good

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez is relishing the prospect of new Argentina boss Diego Maradona’s visit to England next week.

Maradona is due in the UK from Sunday to meet Liverpool’s Javier Masherano and Manchester United’s Carlos Tevez and may take in Liverpool’s home Champions League tie with Atletico Madrid on Tuesday.

Benitez said: “I talked to Mascherano about Maradona’s appointment, he is delighted. And I have also spoken with the Argentina federation, and everything is okay for Diego to come to Liverpool.

“Everybody will have the chance to talk, and to discuss the future for Javier and the national team.”

Benitez believes Maradona was the right choice to lead the Argentine national team.

“Nobody can every doubt the quality of Maradona as a player, but I think he will do well as a manager.

“He will find that it is different as a manager, but he has a technical director with plenty of experience and they are trying to bring in some ex-players who have experience as managers to help him.

“That sort of staff around him will make it easier, he will have plenty of help and it will be a very interesting situation.”

He added: “I know when Javier was told about the appointment he was excited, and very pleased.

“I do not know whether Maradona will be here for the Madrid game, but I suppose it is possible. There are several good Argentinians in their squad for him to see.

“Diego will be very welcome to come to our training ground next week, and to see the match. Maybe I can persuade him to take a few free-kicks!”

Benitez is a huge fan of Maradona, who also attended Liverpool’s famous Champions League final victory over AC Milan in Istanbul in 2005.

Benitez said: “We are about the same age, he had a great impact on me as a player. I watched him when he was at Napoli and Barcelona. He was absolutely amazing in Naples.

“You talk to the people there and they tell you he is `God’ which just underlines what everybody knows, he was a fantastic player. “I think it is an exciting appointment. If he has the right people around him it will be really good for Argentina.”

Fri 31 October, 2008
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