November 24th, 2008
03:28 PM ET

Welcome back Diego!

Love him or hate him, no-one has ever been able to ignore him, and you won't be able to do it now as Diego Armando Maradona is back. Few would have ever predicted that he would one day become Argentina's national team manager. After all, this is a man who is not exactly the ideal role model – a self-confessed cocaine addict whose self-destructive behaviour nearly killed him back in 2004. But he bounced back. Somehow, he managed to get back on his feet and return to the forefront in the world of football.

"How do you feel? Have you overcome your demons, your mental and physical troubles?" I asked him at a press conference in Glasgow before his managerial debut against Scotland last week. His reply was indicative of someone who has stared death in the face but who is now trying to do his best. "I get up every morning. Thank God, I get up every morning."

It was a calm and collected Maradona I saw before, during and after Argentina's 1-0 win over the Scots at Hampden Park. There were no controversial remarks, no inflamatory comments made about the "hand of God" goal he was asked about by local reporters. I was pleased to see a more mature man, one who probably realizes this is his last big shot at making a mark in world football. As a player, his biggest pride and passion was wearing the blue and white stripes of Argentina, and now he will do everything in his power to serve his beloved nation.

During his first ever game as Argentina manager, there were no signs of the exhuberant and inappropriate behaviour displayed when supporting his favourite club, Boca Juniors, at La Bombonera in Buenos aires. There was no kicking and no shouting. Diego simply followed the match calmly on the bench, getting up only a handful of times to communicate a few instructions to his players.

So is this a new man with a new attitude? For now, it seems so, and I am ready to give him another chance. Even though it's probably the 100th chance he has been given in a turbulent life.

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Filed under:  Football