Milito will add to the team’s strikeforce: MaradonaMay 24th, 2010 - 8:55 pm ICT by IANS
London, May 24 (IANS) Argentina coach Diego Maradona said Diego Milito, who scored two goals in Inter Milan’s Champions League triumph over Bayern Munich, will add to the team’s strike-force in the World Cup.
Maradona said Milito’s performance reinforces his belief in the striker’s ability.
“He (Milito) scored two great goals, which show why I picked him,” Maradona was quoted as saying in the Daily Telegraph Monday.
Maradona has said he may play three forwards, with Lionel Messi of Barcelona teaming up front the Real Madrid’s Gonzalo Higuain and Carlos Tevez of Manchester City. Milito, Sergio Aguero of Atletico Madrid and Martin Palermo of Boca Juniors look likely to be reserves.
A few days ago Maradona said he could not leave Tevez - the most popular player in the country - out of the lineup. In a recent poll, Messi was only No.5 on the popularity list.
“It didn’t surprise me what he (Milito) did. He’s had a spectacular season. But so have Lio (Messi), Tevez and Kun,” said Maradona, using Aguero’s nickname.
“Messi is the best in the world and if he has the ball we have more possibilities,” Maradona said. “Thank God he’s an Argentine.”
Maradona said several times he was relaxed going into his first World Cup as Argentina’s coach, adding that the South Americans had everything needed to contend for the title.
Maradona won the World Cup as a player in 1986 and led Argentina to the 1990 final. But he has been widely criticized since taking over as coach 19 months ago, many questioning his tactics and lack of formal coaching training.
Argentina struggled in the qualifiers, absorbing a humiliating 1-6 loss against Bolivia and a 1-3 loss at home against Brazil, before making the cut for the World Cup.
Nigeria, South Korea and Greece are the other teams clubbed with Argentina.
“I see this group as very solid,” Maradona said. “We have character and everything we need to have a great World Cup.”
Maradona has never publicly explained why he left Inter Milan defender Javier Zanetti and teammate and midfielder Esteban Cambiasso off the 23-man squad.
When asked about it, he shrugged his shoulders and seemed insulted he was even asked.
“Again with the list of 23, brother,” he replied to the question. “It’s done. I’ve already handed it in.”
In place of Zanetti, one of the world’s most experienced defenders, Maradona picked Ariel Garce of Argentine club Colon. Garce has played only one match for the national team, appearing earlier this month in a 4-0 victory over Haiti.
“We know we aren’t the favourites, but we are going to surprise,” he said. “We are hungry for glory. I see it similar to ‘86. Besides, Messi arrives better than I was.”
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