DIEGO Maradona's over-the-top verbal assault on Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni is more sad than insulting.
In fact, the former World Cup winner merely looks like a has-been desperately seeking publicity at the expense of an internationally respected football manager.
Maradona, currently managing Al Wasl in Dubai, used the recent appointment of 44-year-old Massimiliano Allegri as manager of AC Milan as a way to have a cut at Italian football in general and Trap in particular.
Allegri's appointment, he claimed, was an act of courage "in a world which appears increasingly embalmed.
"In Italian football it is always the same faces. I wouldn't be surprised if someone brought back an old timer like Trapattoni."
True, Trap is an 'old timer' in the sense that he is 73 and that he has been in football since he joined AC Milan in 1956.
Drug and other controversies surrounded Maradona during his career. He received a 15-month ban for failing a drug test in Italy in 1991, and he was sent home from the 1994 World Cup after testing positive for ephedrine.
As a manager, Maradona's record pales in comparison with Trap's. He managed Mandiyu of Corrientes and Racing Club, each for a year back in the mid-90s, and with no success.
He took over as manager of Argentina in November 2008 and, despite the riches of talent available to him, including Lionel Messi, his team staggered through qualification for the 2010 World Cup finals, where they lost to Germany in the quarter-finals.
His volatile temperament and habit of generating controversy blighted his time as national coach. Following the final game of the qualifying tournament, Maradona had a go at his hated enemies, the media, in the post-match press conference, telling them to "suck it and keep on sucking it".
The outcome was a two-month FIFA ban and a fine of ¿20,700.
As for Trapattoni, where do you begin? He has won 10 league championships in four different countries (six with Juventus and one with Inter Milan in Italy, and one each with Bayern Munich, Benfica and Red Bull Salzburg.
With Juventus the Irish boss also won the European Cup , the Cup Winners' Cup and the UEFA Cup twice, plus a European Super Cup and the Intercontinental Cup. He added another UEFA Cup with Inter.
He brought Italy to the 2002 World Cup and the 2004 European Championships, but arguably his biggest international achievement has been guiding Ireland through a tricky qualifying group to reach the Euro 2012 finals.
"Football is not like a violin in the theatre, football is about the end result."
That is Trap's philosophy -- and it has worked pretty well so far.