Maradona expresses desire to succeed Rafael Benitez as Napoli coach

ANI| Updated: Oct 18, 2013, 10:52 AM IST

Johannesburg: Argentine football legend Diego Maradona has said that he would like to succeed Napoli coach Rafael Benitez while calling on Italy to leave AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli to live his life as he wants.

According to Sport24, Maradona revealed he would soon be celebrating being drug-free for 10 years but re-ignited his old rivalry with fellow football legend Pele of Brazil, saying that he was better than him.

Maradona, now welcome in Italy having settled a long-running dispute with authorities over unpaid taxes, is expected to watch former side Napoli`s match against Serie A leaders Roma on Friday, the report said.

Napoli finished runners-up last season under former coach Walter Mazzarri and, after luring former Liverpool and Chelsea boss Rafael Benitez to the club, are seen by many as the biggest challengers to champions Juventus, the report added.

Despite a glaring lack of coaching experience compared to Benitez, Maradona, who helped Napoli to their only two league titles in 1987 and 1990, says he would happily succeed the Spaniard, the report further said.

He said that coaches were changing all over the place, from Spain to Italy, England to Russia but there were people who were afraid of him and that is why he was not coaching.

The Argentinian also said he could empathise with the plight of AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli, arguably the biggest name in Serie A following his move last year from Manchester City.

Balotelli regularly complains of unfair treatment on and off the pitch and, with his every move often magnified in the media, the Italy international this week pleaded to be left alone, according to the report.

Maradona said that Balotelli should be a sporting example, nut not one for how to live life.