:: Peoples Time Online ::
Football great Diego Maradona cited a lack of “unity” for his decision to resign as head coach of Argentina’s Gimnasia La Plata on Tuesday.
The 59-year-old explained in a social media post that he felt compelled to “step aside” after club president Gabriel Pellegrino ruled out running for another term in an election on Saturday.
“It hurts my soul to make this decision… I was honestly surprised [at Pellegrino’s announcement],” Maradona said in an Instagram post.
“I felt that we were all together: the employees of the club, the coaching staff, doctors, officials, the people, and especially these players, who gave their all in every match.”
Maradona, who led Argentina to the 1986 World Cup title, took charge of Gimnasia in early September after agreeing to a contract that ran until the end of May.
Gimnasia are currently 22nd in the 24-team Argentinian Superliga standings with ten points from 13 matches. Their hopes of avoiding relegation have been boosted by three wins in their past five fixtures.
“We were finding a way for Gimnasia to stay in the top flight. The club needed continuity and to make some key signings. That’s why we remained hopeful until the last minute. We agreed that there would be unity but unfortunately that wasn’t possible.”
Maradona, who paid tribute to Gimnasia’s fans, expressed hope that the club would stay in Argentina’s top division next year.
“I hope that whoever takes up the coaching job can continue the work we started and manage to keep Gimnasia where they deserve to be,” the former Boca Juniors, Barcelona and Napoli forward added.