Argentina legend Diego Maradona reverses course, stays as Gimnasia manager
Diego Maradona decided to stay on as coach of Argentine club Gimnasia y Esgrima in a surprising about turn on Thursday, two days after saying he was leaving his job at the struggling first division side.
His lawyer Matias Morla told a news conference the former World Cup winner changed his mind after the candidates for club president agree to put their differences aside ahead of Saturday's election.
The announcement prompted an outpouring of emotion from fans, many of whom turned up at the club to call on Maradona to stay.
Maradona posted on Instagram a video of the club's fans gathering in support of him, adding a statement: "I'm very happy to be able to say that I'll continue being the manager ... I want to thank the fans and the players, because amongst us we have finally achieved political unity at the club. I hope they provide the reinforcements promised to me."
View this post on Instagram
Me da mucha felicidad poder decir que sigo siendo el director técnico de Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata. Quiero agradecerle a los hinchas del Lobo, y a los jugadores, porque entre todos nosotros conseguimos finalmente la unidad política del club. Yo espero que cumplan con los refuerzos que me prometieron. Gracias por sus mensajes, por el apoyo, por la movilización de ayer, con 50 grados de calor, y al nenito que me pidió "Diez, volvé!". Vamos Lobo, aguante Gimnasia!!! 💪💙🐺
Maradona took the job in September on the condition Gabriel Pellegrino stay on as club president and Pellegrino's decision not to run caused Maradona's surprise resignation.
It is not clear if Pellegrino will be the consensus candidate in the upcoming ballot.
"We announce that Diego and his coaching staff are going to be tomorrow at the team practice. We are confident and we hope the political unity that the leaders of the club showed is not only for Diego to continue, but for the good of Gimnasia and the goal of staying in the first division," Maradona's agent Christian Bragarnik told Fox Sports Argentina.
"The team president told him first that he was not going to participate in the upcoming elections so it made sense for Diego to go out with him. But Diego's decision provoked the reaction of all the candidates to get together and to understand that Gimnasia is above any individual interest."
Maradona, who won the World Cup in 1986 and is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, took over the club from La Plata, just outside Buenos Aires, charged with helping them avoid relegation.
He lost his first three games in charge and although he has won three of five since, the team are still third-bottom of the league and in danger of going down.
Information from Reuters was used in this report.