Diego Maradona, looking close to tears Wednesday, said he was betrayed as Argentina coach by national team director Carlos Bilardo and lied to by Julio Grondona, the president of the Argentine Football Association.
Speaking one day after the Argentine Football Association declined to renew his contract, Maradona claimed Wednesday that Bilardo worked deviously to get rid of him and that Grondona had previously said he was happy with his work.
Argentina was beaten 4-0 by Germany in the World Cup quarterfinals in South Africa.
"They called me to put out a fire, and we put it out," Maradona said. "Grondona lied to me. Bilardo betrayed me. While we were still in mourning (the loss to Germany), Bilardo worked in the shadows to throw me out.
"My technical team and I were prepared to keep going," he added. "Grondona, in the changing room in South Africa, said in front of witnesses that he was very happy with my work and wanted me to continue. But back in Argentina things started to change."
Bilardo was the coach of Argentina and Maradona its star player when the team won the World Cup in 1986.