BERLIN, March 3 – Argentina coach Diego Maradona has revealed his squad had a vomit-inducing arrival in Germany ahead of Wednesday's friendly, as their plane landing was affected by strong winds.
"Landing in Munich was worse than Peru’s equaliser in the World Cup qualifiers," Maradona, 49, pictured in German newspapers on Tuesday smoking a cigar as his team trained, told reporters. "Lots of people vomited."
And with his position under pressure for some unconvincing performances of Albiceleste since becoming coach in late 2008, the flamboyant legend also had some bile left over for reporters from his home country.
"If it was up to Argentinian journalists we should come last in the World Cup. But the people are behind us."
Germany’s trainer Joachim Loew, meanwhile, said that some of Maradona’s best qualities as a player have clearly rubbed off on his team.
"As a player he was a genius, with his enjoyment of the game, his creativity, his attacking play. Argentina today are incredibly attacking — just like their coach," he said.
"We can’t afford to make lots of mistakes. There are hardly any teams that are as aggressive and as attacking as Argentina," he said.
Germany’s captain, Michael Ballack, sporting a black eye from Chelsea’s February 24 Champions League defeat to Inter Milan, said that despite their recent lack of form, he had the utmost respect for Argentina.
"They have the full repertoire, that’s what makes them so dangerous — but also interesting," the 33-year-old said. "Tomorrow night we are going to face a team that is absolutely top class, if you look at the individual players.
And as for Maradona’s smoking, Ballack conceded this was "unusual" in modern football.
"I haven’t seen that before, at least in recent years, a trainer on the football pitch with a cigar.
"But it doesn’t interest us. He’s not our trainer."