Maradona wants China job

Tue Aug 14, 2012 11:21pm EDT

Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona, coach of UAE's Al Wasl, waves next to his father, Diego Maradona Snr, as they wait for the start of the Argentine First Division soccer match between Boca Juniors and Arsenal in Buenos Aires June 17, 2012. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci

Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona, coach of UAE's Al Wasl, waves next to his father, Diego Maradona Snr, as they wait for the start of the Argentine First Division soccer match between Boca Juniors and Arsenal in Buenos Aires June 17, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Marcos Brindicci

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(Reuters) - Argentine soccer great Diego Maradona has underlined his desire to coach in China after arriving in the country for an eight-day charity trip, local media reported.

The 51-year-old, Argentina's head coach at the 2010 World Cup, was sacked by United Arab Emirates club Al Wasl last month but appears keen on a job in the Far East.

"I would like to coach in China," Maradona told a news conference in Beijing, the China Daily reported. "I wish to contribute to the development of China's youth soccer."

One of Maradona's coterie of agents had sounded out the Chinese earlier this year with a view of eventually landing the national team job, the newspaper said.

During his visit, Maradona, who led his country to the 1986 World Cup as a player and is regarded as one of the game's greatest ever, will holds talks with Chinese FA boss Wei Di.

A controversial figure who has suffered serious health issues and overcome drug addiction, Maradona was fired as Argentina coach after losing 4-0 to Germany in the quarter-finals of the 2010 tournament.

Chinese soccer has seen an influx of big-name foreign players and coaches, including Sergio Batista, the man who took over the Argentina job from Maradona, now coach of Shanghai Shenhua.

The big-spending Chinese Super League club boast former Chelsea strikers Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba, while other clubs have also been splashing the cash.

Shanghai's rivals Guangzhou Evergrande appointed Italy's former World Cup winning coach Marcello Lippi.

(Reporting by Alastair Himmer in Tokyo; Editing by Ian Ransom)

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