World Cup: The Management Secrets of Diego Maradona

Managers! Team leaders! Regional directors! Do you aspire to EXCELLENCE? Would you like to see your organization, UNDER YOUR LEADERSHIP, become the envy of its field? Do you want to SMASH the competition, and do so with STYLE and PANACHE? Do you want to guide your outfit into a BRIGHT FUTURE and, in doing so, get ALL THE CREDIT?

Easy! With Diego Maradona’s Patented Management Secrets, you too can achieve global success, national iconhood and impressive bearditude. Here are three simple ways that you can DO IT LIKE DIEGO!

1) ESTABLISH A BIZARRE FREUDIAN/OEDIPAL RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR TOP EMPLOYEE: In the run-up to this World Cup, if you could not sense the tension between Argentina manager (<<this is the Argentine word for “capricious living god”) Diego Maradona and Barcelona uberwunderkind Lionel Messi just by the peculiar metallic tang in the air, you were probably dead. You had to feel for both parties—a little. Maradona was chosen to manage the national side on a day when the entire AFA was drunk and in a reckless, fatalistic mood. (“Fuck it! Y’know? FUCK IT! We’re fucking hiring fucking Diego. FUCK IT!”) Messi, spirited out of Argentina to receive growth-hormone shots and the world’s finest football instruction when he was a mere child, will basically punch the next person who suggests he’s “the next Maradona” straight in the throat.

So Maradona was playing Messi out of position, and Messi was acting all “miserable child” in the way that only he can. Then there’s the personality gap between the two men; i.e., Diego Maradona owns one of the most robust personalities of modern times, whereas Lionel Messi seems like a nice boy who has no life whatsoever outside football. Maradona hobnobs with Castro. Messi—and I’m not saying he’s stupid; just that this information holds little meaning for him—gives the strong impression that he would struggle to describe Castro’s world-historical significance. The whole team looked doomed for disaster.

BUT WAIT. Instead, Messi seems quite happy playing back in midfield for Diego, and Diego seems overjoyed with little Lionel’s performance. Could it be that Diego has played Messi’s psychology perfectly, drumming up creative tension and instilling an intense desire for affection withheld? What did Maradona whisper in Messi’s ear as he embraced him after Argentina’s easy win over Greece today? Wouldn’t you die to know? Did he say: You are my son and heir, the chosen one? Or did he say: Messi, you look like the fifth fucking Beatle and you should have buried three today? Either way, take note for your next big meeting!

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2) HIRE ONLY THE OLD AND INFIRM, WHILE SHUNNING THOSE AT THE TOP OF THEIR PROFESSION. On its face, Maradona’s decision to include Martin Demichelis and Martin Palermo in his squad, but not, say, Juan Roman Riquelme or Esteban Cambiasso seems patently absurd. Demichelis’ oft-flailing play with Bayern Munich this season had me firmly and unshakably convinced that he hailed from some obscure French-speaking part of Germany and was the product of some bizarre agricultural development program. Meanwhile, Cambiasso spent a season as an integral part of Inter Milan’s brain-freezing defensive machine. Riquelme is every romantic’s choice to run the Albiceleste midfield. Martin Palermo is older than me.

And yet, today, Demichelis and Palermo combined to score the goals that set Argentina up for the next round. Could it be…this is a terrible thought…could it be…that Maradona knows what he’s doing?

3) MARK EVERY MOMENT OF SUCCESS WITH AN OUTBURST OF PSYCHOTIC GLEE. Indeed, Maradona’s out-of-hand goal celebrations are fast becoming the best reason to watch this World Cup. Middle-managers of Earth, be advised! This is how you blast an organization straight to the top! By the force of will, Rosary beads and a general Wolfman-on-mescaline vibe!


My new book, The Renegade Sportsman, is now available.


About zachdundas

Freelance journalist. Author of The Renegade Sportsman (Riverhead Books). Thank you.
This entry was posted in Football, Soccer, Sports, Uncategorized, World Cup 2010 and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to World Cup: The Management Secrets of Diego Maradona

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention World Cup: The Management Secrets of Diego Maradona - Zach Dundas - Renegade Sportsman - True/Slant --

  2. leonkelly says:

    Could Argentina have done what France failed at: “managing superstar egos”? Perhaps Maradona understand the psychology of his group and has his way to handle that. As Mike Tomlin and other winning coaches often share: “Good coaching is not about X’s and O’s”. I would love to hear a conversation between Diego and Larry Brown. South American soccer is the most passionate style of play. Maradona is passionate (if nothing else).

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