Maradona accuses Carlos Bilardo of betraying him

Maradona blasted Julio Grondona and Bilardo for forcing him out of the Argentina job.

Diego Maradona finally broke his silence after being removed as coach of the Argentina national team and pointed the blame for his demise unequivocally at former friend Carlos Bilardo.

Dressed in a smart navy suit and with a freshly trimmed beard, Maradona looked calm and composed in front of reporters as he began reading a prepared statement. This did not hold however, as he turned on those perceived as responsible for tearing him away from La Seleccion.

"Bilardo betrayed me", Diego insisted. "While we were still mourning after the Germany game he was working in the shadows to get rid of me.

"Whoever looks a little closer knows that the betrayal was lurking right around the corner from the team in South Africa."

'Dieguito' also had strong words for AFA head Julio Grondona, whom he claimed "lied to me". And the little legend was outraged at the charade his two targets carried out when requesting a list of players for the upcoming friendly against Ireland.

"It was all a trick, because Bilardo and 'Humbertito' had it all arranged. In the dressing room, with players and witnesses all around, he said to me that I was going to continue... but he and Bilardo had already fired me then."

Diego then revealed the final straw was on Monday, when he met with Grondona to define his future.

"He said that if I wanted I could carry on, but without seven of my backroom staff. If he is telling me this then he was saying he didn't want me to carry on," Maradona fired on the verge of tears.

"I defend my people. And I am not going to change because I have values and a moral code, and these people do not."
 

More in World Cup 2010