Maradona close to managerial return in Argentina

Argentine legend Diego Maradona is closing in on a return to management at Argentine first division club Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata.

Maradona met with the club on Wednesday and the deal is "80 percent" agreed, the Argentine legend's lawyer Matias Morla told ESPN FC, with a definitive meeting set to take place on Thursday.

Maradona had admitted on Tuesday that he would like to coach in his homeland, but on Wednesday denied that a deal had been signed with Gimnasia, or that he had met with anyone at the club.

"I don't think that toying with the hopes of the fans is ok," wrote Maradona. "I still haven't met with anyone."

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But Morla posted a video later on Wednesday of Maradona talking directly to Gimnasia fans: "I want to make clear that I've very recently undergone an operation. I did have contact with people from Gimnasia, but I've not spoken to anyone recently

"For them to have considered me ... due to my achievements far away or because they are Maradona fans is a very beautiful thing, really touching and it fills my heart."

Maradona then made a point of getting up and walking around to prove he is fit, after a right knee operation in late July.

"They say that I can't move. Look! Look!" stressed Maradona in the video. "Am I ready to coach or not? All of you Lobo [Gimnasia] fans, I hold you here [points to heart]."

The 58-year-old joined Mexican second division club Dorados de Sinaloa one year ago and led the team to consecutive Ascenso MX finals in his two seasons, losing both to newly promoted Atletico San Luis -- owned by Atletico Madrid -- after extra time in the second leg.

But Maradona left in mid-June in order to undergo a knee operation, following indications he was happy in Mexico and wanted to continue, with Dorados also content with how things had gone.

Gimnasia is dead last in the Argentine league after five rounds of matches in the new season, having lost its last four games.

Maradona had invited his Argentina teammate Gabriel Batistuta to be part of the coaching staff at Gimnasia and take training sessions, but the former striker declined the invitation due to a scheduled operation on Sept. 17 in Switzerland.

"I want to thank Diego Maradona for the offer I'd been waiting for for so long," wrote Batistuta on Twitter. "I wish him all the best!"