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Door opened on potential Maradona return

National team director Carlos Bilardo claims the door remains open for Diego Maradona to return to the Argentina helm.

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It was confirmed last week that Maradona's contract as Argentina coach was not to be renewed after disagreements with the Argentinian Football Association (AFA).

However, Bilardo - who Maradona accused of betraying him - insists there are no names in the pipeline to succeed the 1986 World Cup winner and believes he could take up his role again if he sits down and talks to AFA president Julio Grondona.

"If Diego comes and talks, I don't know what can happen. It's all a question of talking," Bilardo told news channel Todo Noticias. "I would not close any door. We are awaiting the outcome. Anything can happen.

"My job is to suggest people who can work and then the executive committee are those who decide. But we still have not talked with anyone or come up with anyone's names.The possibility of another meeting (between Maradona and the AFA) exists."

Maradona, whose side suffered a humiliating defeat by Germany in the quarter-finals of the World Cup this summer, met with Grondona a week ago to discuss his future and a possible renewal of his contract.

He was told at the meeting the board were only prepared to keep him in if he changed substantial numbers of his backroom team - something the 49-year-old was not prepared to do.

Argentina's next game is a friendly against Republic of Ireland on August 11 in Dublin, and current Under-20 boss Sergio Batista has been placed in temporary charge for that fixture.

Batista guided Argentina's Under-23 side to gold at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.


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