BUENOS AIRES: An Argentine lawmaker on Wednesday suggested erecting a statue to football coach Diego Maradona in the capital Buenos Aires as he sponsored a bill to honour one of the country`s most famous sons.
Maradona, who will be 50 later this year, still has great public cachet in his homeland despite Argentina crashing out of the World Cup in the quarter-finals to Germany, who beat his side 4-0.
But lower house member Juan Cabandie, an ally of President Cristina Kirchner, said he would back a bill for a statue because "the Argentine people have shown that, where Maradona is concerned, results are not important."
"Maradona has become an icon of Argentine popular culture, he is a social phenomenon and his popularity goes beyond the sporting arena."
Cabandie said a monument would highlight Maradona`s strength of character and loyalty to his country`s cause as "he continues to write chapters of a story which seems to be without end."
Maradona already has a three-metre-high statue to him weighing some 300 kilos at the Boca Juniors Bombonera statium where he first made his name.
Despite the loss to Germany Maradona`s men received a warm welcome home after impressing up to that stage - having endured a very mixed qualifying campaign.
Although he is said to be very down over the defeat and has been keeping a low profile in his Buenos Aires home he may yet stay in the post he took in late 2008.
Some observers believe he may be unable to resist leading the country to a home triumph next year in the Copa America.
Earlier, the Argentine Football Association said it had not been in touch as yet with Maradona over his future having indicated it will let him make a decision.
Maradona remains a idol in Argentina having propelled them to the 1986 World Cup with a series of electrifying performances and he also played in the team which came runners-up to Germany in 1990.
Four years later he was banned after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs.
As Argentina coach he struggled to qualify the team for the World Cup, suffered a string of losses including a 6-1 hiding in Bolivia.
Yet their early World Cup finals campaign was strong with three group stage wins over Nigeria, South Korea and Greece followed by a win over Mexico before the Germans swamped them.
BDST: 2109hrs, July 7, 2010