Dubai - Argentinian football legend Diego Maradona, sacked in July as coach of Dubai's Al Wasl, has been appointed as Honorary Ambassador of Sports in Dubai under a deal inked at a media conference.
In terms of the one-year contract signed between Maradona and the Dubai Sports Council on Sunday, the 51-year-old star will leverage his experience to develop the game of football in the Gulf emirate.
"The Dubai Sports Council and I have discussed a few ideas regarding what should be done in the coming period in the field of sports to discover new talent in the coming generation of local athletes. This was the greatest incentive for me to accept this mission," Maradona told the press conference.
"Hosting successful global sporting events has put Dubai on the global sports map, and I trust that this will help to encourage more home-grown stars to come out to challenge the rest of the world," he added.
Maradona was sacked as coach of Al Wasl only one year after being appointed to the job, after failing to win a trophy last season.
The star – who as a player almost singlehandedly guided Argentina to the 1986 World Cup trophy and then to the 1990 final – had another year left on his contract.
The value of the contract with DSC was not revealed, but media reports said it could exceed $5 million, which is the amount Maradona would have received as a compensation for his contract being terminated with Al Wasl.
Maradona denied at the press conference that he was retiring from coaching by taking up the honourary ambassador's post, insisting that he just wanted a break.
"All I want is a break for a year at least. This does not mean that I am retiring from coaching. I accepted Dubai's offer because it is a beautiful city and I really love it," he said.
- Sapa / AFP