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Iraq denies it wants Diego Maradona

BAGHDAD -- The Iraqi Football Association denies it is negotiating with Argentine great Diego Maradona to take over as a coach of the national team.

Deputy IFA head Abdul-Khaliq Masoud tells The Associated Press the association isn't in talks with Maradona "and doesn't have any intention to hire him."

Masoud's comments Friday came a day after an Argentine soccer official was quoted saying Maradona was a leading candidate to take over as Iraq coach. The Buenos Aires daily La Nacion reported that Maradona was close to signing a deal with Iraq.

Former Brazil great Zico resigned as Iraq coach last month over what he said was the Iraqi association's failure to live up to its commitments. Zico had been coach since August 2011.

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