River Plate’s El Monumental has been Argentina’s World Cup venue
Diego Maradona continues his divisive ways.
He was said to have complained about the state of the Mounmental stadium describing it as “a pasture” before the Colombia match. The topic cropped up again after the loss to Ecuador, when Maradona expressed his unhappiness about the stadium being the venue for the match against Brazil.
Maradona’s strong criticism has sparked a war of words. River wrote a letter to Julio Grondona asking details of Maradona’s contract seeking to find out if the coach had undergone a psychological examination. (In Spanish). These are loaded words given Maradona’s history of drug and alcohol abuse.
Grondona seems to be treading lightly on this controversy saying the AFA is partly to blame as they did not prepare an alternate venue. Rosario Central maybe a possible choice. He also called these polemics a flare up of a Boca -River rivalry. It is significant that he also made a plug for the return of Juan Roman Riquelme, who has sworn never to play under Maradona.
As this comment points out, the stadium nitpicking is seen as a distraction from Maradona’s poor tactics:
“When Argentina lose to Brazil, I hope MARADONA does not blame the altitude or the pitch. The truth is that the coach of the team does not know how to play the players.”