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Mar 6, 2013

Montpellier set to hold Maradona talks

Montpellier owner Louis Nicollin has said he is ready to meet Diego Maradona to hold talks about the possibility of the Argentina legend taking over as coach of the Ligue 1 champions next season.

Nicollin has told the Midi Libre newspaper and RMC radio station that Maradona is a contender to succeed Rene Girard - and that his appointment would annoy Paris St Germain.

And the multi-millionaire has insisted he is serious, telling L'Equipe: "I didn't say that by chance. I've known for a few weeks that Maradona wants to coach in Europe and perhaps with us.

"If he wants to come and talk to us, we'll welcome him. It's always good to talk to people who want to join your company. So I'm wholly ready to meet him."

Maradona, 52, has been out of work since being sacked by United Arab Emirates club Al Wasl in July. The 1986 World Cup-winner's previous experience on the touchline had been limited to his native country, including a two-year stint with the national side.

"Maradona almost took the Iraq job, but turned it down due to security issues," Youssef Haijoub, of Sport Global Management, who L'Equipe said were Maradona's representatives in France, told the paper.

"Since stopping work at Al Wasl, he really wants to work in Europe. He's been approached by Italian and English clubs, but Montpellier interests him. They're a club with a history, honours, and their squad has several South American players such as [Vitorino] Hilton, [Emmanuel] Herrera and [Marco] Estrada.

"Mr Nicollin is interested - I'm convinced things can go well between them. Maradona is a warrior. He's a coach with a similar style to Mourinho."

Nicollin said Maradona's volatile temperament would not be a problem, but realised that his salary demands could be.

"If he accepts €30,000 a month, we'll take him," he said. "And we'll find him a villa. There's no way he's going to stay at my place - he'll be bothering me every day. If he comes to talk, we'll have a good press conference - and I want to see more journalists than there were for David Beckham in Paris.

"We've had other coaches [who are] difficult to deal with. As long as they get the points needed to keep us up."

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