Jubilant reception for Maradona, Messi in Buenos Aires

Despite their humiliating loss to Germany in the World Cup football quarter-finals, the Argentine national football team and coach Diego Maradona received a rousing reception when they arrived in Buenos Aires.

Last Updated: Jul 05, 2010, 18:16 PM IST

Buenos Aires: Despite their humiliating loss to Germany in the World Cup football quarter-finals, the Argentine national football team and coach Diego Maradona received a rousing reception when they arrived in Buenos Aires.

Thousands of fans dressed in the national colours - light blue and white - gathered outside the Ezeiza International Airport as well as the Argentine Football Association (AFA) headquarters, amid tight security here Sunday.

But the players could barely be seen as their bus headed straight to the AFA office.

Many supporters carried signs that said ‘Diego 2014,’ referring to the next World Cup, but the coach’s fate is still be to decided.

Maradona strongly hinted that he was stepping down as coach after the team’s 4-0 whipping by Germany Saturday.

“I have to discuss it first with my family and the players,” said Maradona, who won the World Cup as a player in 1986.

One of football’s all-time greats, Maradona took over as Argentina’s coach in October 2008. His team qualified for the World Cup finals in South Africa with difficulty but were undefeated and had played impressively until Saturday’s debacle.

Maradona will meet AFA president Julio Grondona Monday to discuss his future as the team’s coach.

IANS