Venezuela’s president thinks Diego Maradona should head FIFA

Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro is weighing in on who he thinks should be FIFA’s next president. His ideal successor to Sepp Blatter? His Argentine confidant, Diego Maradona.

“The international federation of football should be led by football players,” Maduro remarked during his weekly televised address. “The president of FIFA should be Diego Armando Maradona, or someone like him.”

Maduro’s affinity for Maradona isn’t really much of a surprise when you remember that Maradona was best of buds with the man who anointed Maduro, his predecessor, Hugo Chavez. Not to mention, Maradona actually hit the campaign trail for Maduro back in 2013, when Maduro was running for president after Chavez died from cancer.

Argentina's soccer legend Diego Armando Maradona, center, dances during the closing campaign rally for Venezuela's acting President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela,  Thursday April 11, 2013. Maduro, the hand-picked successor of Venezuela's late President Hugo Chavez, is running for president against opposition candidate Henrique Capriles on April 14.  (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)ASSOCIATED PRESS

Maradona really, really, really campaigned.


Maradona fits part of the bill, if you’re going by Maduro’s criteria. He definitely played soccer. And he most certainly thinks that Blatter is a corrupt mess who spent his time “running after glasses of champagne.” Then again, that isn’t exactly the ideal resume of a candidate who’ll be tasked with restructuring and overseeing reform of the biggest sport on the plant. Also, denouncing things isn’t really a platform.

But still, Maduro thinks that Maradona, or someone like him, should run FIFA.

In case you’re wondering, yes, Maduro also has opinions on the FIFA investigation. Unsurprisingly, the Venezuelan president believes that there’s a nefarious plot to overthrow Blatter, and it’s fueled by politics:

They’re removing Blatter out of the way to govern FIFA, and they’re removing him because they know him completely. They know about the corruptions there that they permitted. Now with the upcoming world Cups, in Moscow, and then the one in Qatar, the mafias of the mafias, who control soccer, famous throughout the world, have reacted and the maneuver points towards over there. Let’s see how they take the world cup away from Russia or Qatar, or how they’ll sabotage them so that they won’t shine.

So there you go. FIFA president Diego Maradona, at least according to Nicolás Maduro.

Unrelated question: Watch that weekly address video again. Are there regular segments where Maduro actually listens to a pre-recorded rants of himself while nodding along in agreement?