Diego Maradona goes from managing in the UAE to chairman of Belarus club

Maradona Maradona stepped down as coach of UAE second division club Al-Fujairah last month. (AFP)
Updated 16 May 2018
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Diego Maradona goes from managing in the UAE to chairman of Belarus club

  • World Cup winner signs three-year contract to serve as chairman
  • Dinamo Brest sit eighth in the 16-team Premier Division.

MINSK: Diego Maradona is coming to Belarus as chairman of a small top-flight club with big European ambitions.
The Argentine legend posted a photo on Instagram late Tuesday of what Dinamo Brest said was a three-year contract to serve as chairman of the board.
“Thanks for the trust and for thinking of me,” Maradona wrote in his post.
Dinamo Brest also posted pictures of the 1986 World Cup winner holding up a green and red Belarusian flag while wearing a matching black T-shirt and shorts.
Maradona stepped down as coach of UAE second division club Al-Fujairah last month after failing to secure their promotion.
Dinamo Brest were acquired by new owners three years ago who are intent on breaking the historic dominance of the country’s two big sides: Dinamo Minsk and BATE Borisov.
The 57-year-old will be in charge of the team’s transfer policy and strategic development.
“Will Maradona be able to help Belarusian — particularly Brest — football? I think the answer is obvious,” said club spokeswoman Olga Khizhinkova.
She also insisted that the global star intended to spend most of his time in the small city on Belarus’s southwest border with Poland.
“We are already looking for a place for him to live,” Khizhinkova said.
“We expect that if not the whole time, he is going to spend a substantial portion of his time in Brest.”
Dinamo currently sit eighth in the 16-team Premier Division.
The club were formed in 1960 and spent their first 32 years in the Soviet Union’s second and third divisions.
Dinamo were automatically promoted to top-flight Belarusian football when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.
They finished third in the inaugural Belarusian season but have never qualified for Europe.
The team’s new owners have told Belarusian media that they intended to acquire new talent and invest significant resources in the club this year.
Khizhinkova said Maradona will come to Brest after completing a Russia World Cup assignment for Venezuelan television.


Van Dijk backs Salah to shine in Kiev showpiece

Updated 26 May 2018
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Van Dijk backs Salah to shine in Kiev showpiece

  • Virgil van Dijk: He (Mohamed Salah) is a nightmare for defenders, creating and scoring goals.”
  • Van Dijk: “To be calm, that is sometimes a very good thing to have, but personally sometimes I have to learn, too.”

LIVERPOOL: As Mohamed Salah prepares for a career-defining period, Virgil van Dijk is confident his Liverpool teammate’s star will only shine brighter on football’s biggest stages.
The Liverpool frontman will face-off with Ballon d’Or rival Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid tonight in the Champions League final before heading off to a debut World Cup with Egypt.
And having witnessed an incredible season that has brought 44 goals — a record 32 in the Premier League ­— for the Egyptian star, Reds defender van Dijk says he has the all-round ability to strike fear into the reigning European champions and international sides.
“He is a nightmare for defenders, creating and scoring goals,” said the Dutchman of the 25-year-old Salah. “It’s complete for him.
“He’s like everyone in our squad, laidback, calm, no big personalities and egos. We work hard for each other and just want to be better.
“I think he can definitely be the best in Europe, but there are two other players who are pretty good at the moment as well (in Ronaldo and Lionel Messi). I hope for Mo it happens because he deserves it. He is that kind of player to light up a World Cup as well.”
While all eyes will be on Salah and Ronaldo as potential match-winners in Kiev, van Dijk, 26, will have a major role on the defensive front.
The game will offer the center-back the chance to prove he was worth the £75 million ($100 million) it cost to sign him from Southampton in January.
“Any player who arrived at this club, they want to play in these games, they want to be under this kind of pressure, they want to get trophies,” he said.
“I don’t think I have been bought to win the Champions League final. I have been bought to hopefully get the best out of myself and the best out of the team with the help of everyone else.
“To be calm, that is sometimes a very good thing to have, but personally sometimes I have to learn, too.
“Against Manchester City in the away game (of the quarter final) I was a little bit too calm in the beginning, for example. That is something I have to learn as well. To be in the final right now, it has been a crazy journey.”
Watching last season’s final between Real and Juventus, van Dijk realized just how much he wanted to be a part of the competition — and why Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool were the club for him, despite interest from City.
“I never really go to big games to watch as a fan, but I was in Cardiff,” he recalled. “The sponsors (Sony) hooked us up with two fantastic seats and it was two hours from where I used to live, so we thought, ‘let’s go.’
“From the moment I got there a lot of people in hospitality were Liverpool fans and they were saying, ‘join, please join.’