The honeymoon between Diego Maradona and Al-Wasl FC ended just a year after the contract was signed. This astonishing contract dominated all the headlines in the world when al-Wasl FC announced the deal with Maradona.
The deal was unveiled in the beginning of June last year, when al-Wasl FC presented Maradona to his fans during a press conference which received unrivaled international media attention.
Maradona returned to the United Arab Emirates in August to officially launch his career with al-Wasl club. All photographers and TV reporters shone their lights on the famed Argentinian player.
Maradona described Dubai as a piece of heaven and expressed his wish to lead al-Wasl to the championships.
The legendary Maradona started his journey competing in a friendly game against Ittihad Kalba team.
The seats of al-Wasl club stadium were packed to the maximum during the friendly game.
With the launch of the UAE league, Maradona became the championship’s center of interest. His sharp criticism was always present at each press conference and he raised issues every time he met journalists.
Maradona’s most famous criticism tackled Pele when he said: “They said that he is ‘the’ Beethoven of football but we have yet to enjoy any symphony so far.”
Outside the arena, al-Wasl used Maradona’s legendary image and reputation: they visited children with disabilities and participated in social activities. Diego Maradona was very popular.
Despite ranking eighth in the league, things were going well but it seems that the loss of the Gulf Cup was the beginning of the weakening in the relations between both parties.
It was not until last month, when the Club administration was changed and Marwan Bin Bayat ─ who was Maradona’s friend ─ left, that this relationship started to sour.
Many question points were drawn when the new administration said that they were not content with Maradona’s achievements beyond the media, and they wanted real results on the field.
Many thought that these statements were a clear signal, paving the way for Diego Maradona's release, but the administration denied these rumors that were slowly forming the snow ball that would trigger an avalanche.
The decision to release Maradona was announced when the latter was spending his vacation in Argentina.
It is true that part of the equation that dealt with the media was achieved but the results betrayed Maradona and hastened his departure.