Maradona to Gimnasia: The Argentina icon's chaotic coaching career

Following Diego Maradona's return to management with Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata, we analyse his tumultuous coaching career.

Although arguably the greatest player of all time, it's fair to say Diego Maradona isn't necessarily synonymous with coaching.

Nevertheless, El Pibe de Oro is back in the dugout having been confirmed as Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata's new head coach on Thursday, his first job in Argentina since leaving the national team in 2010.

Maradona, 58, was a remarkable talent as a player for Argentinos Juniors, Boca Juniors, Barcelona and, perhaps most famously, Argentina and Napoli.

The 1986 World Cup winner is similarly infamous for his off-field antics and controversies, having suffered from drug addiction, been criticised for his political views and generally never been shy about expressing himself.

While some of his behaviour down the years may not be what one would expect of your average head coach, Maradona often takes his teams on something of a ride…

Deportivo Mandiyu de Corrientes – 1994

Having been suspended by FIFA for failing a drug test during the 1994 World Cup, Maradona quickly turned his hand to coaching, securing a role at Mandiyu de Corrientes.

He had to watch his first match from the stands due to not having passed a coaching course or owning a license, though he remained typically animated. He only presided over 11 more fixtures, winning once, or 8.3 per cent of his games in total.

Racing Club – 1995

After allegedly being sacked in the Mandiyu dressing room, Maradona was not out of work for long before he joined Racing. In Avellaneda, El Diego had significantly greater talent at his disposal, including future Argentina internationals Ignacio Gonzalez and Claudio Lopez, and during this time they beat Boca at La Bombonera for the first time in 20 years.

However, Maradona was not present on that occasion, as he only actually presided over five of the 11 matches of his tenure. Officially, he won 18.2 per cent of his 11 Racing games before the club's presidential elections ushered in a new era and he left.

Argentina – 2008-10

After being away from coaching for 13 years, Maradona somehow landed the top job in Argentinian football; the national team. A reportedly strained relationship with Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria is said to have contributed to Alfio Basile's downfall and Maradona subsequently led them to the 2010 World Cup, but only by the skin of their teeth and not without a 6-1 humiliation by Bolivia.

They made it to the quarter-finals in South Africa, but Germany exposed them in a 4-0 demolition and Maradona departed. But his 75 per cent win record in 24 matches remains Maradona's best as a coach.

Al Wasl – 2011-12

"I do not want the club to be a graveyard for white elephants," was Maradona's opening gambit at Al Wasl, as he pledged to bring exciting young players to the UAE. That proved more difficult than expected, claiming in November 2011 many players weren't being paid on time.

A colourful season saw Maradona feud with two coaches, march into the stands to "protect my wife" from fans and flirt with the UAE national team job. He won 40 per cent of his 35 matches, but was hastily sacked after the club's entire board resigned at the end of a trophyless campaign.

Al-Fujairah – 2017-18

Following a five-year absence, Maradona was back in management in May 2017, again in UAE. His appointment at Al-Fujairah came as a particular shock given their second-tier status.

Maradona's spell was rather less controversial than at Al-Wasl and on the pitch things went better, losing just once in 23 matches. However, a haul of 11 draws proved costly, as Maradona left by mutual consent after failing to guide the club to automatic promotion.

Dorados de Sinaloa – 2018-19

Another eye-catching move followed for Maradona, as he headed to Mexico's Ascenso MX, the country's second division. "Some people said Maradona's useless," he raged after 4-1 debut win and he went on to lead Dorados to the Apertura and Clausura finals.

They suffered defeat to Atletico San Luis in both ties, with Maradona appearing to aim a punch at an opposing fan in post-match fracas after the Apertura defeat. Of his 41 games at the helm, Maradona claimed 20 wins (48.8 per cent) and suffered only 11 defeats.

He quit in June to focus on his health, but he is back with Superliga strugglers Gimnasia, signing a one-year deal.