Recorded
Diego Maradona: The Dubai Years Ep. 5

Diego Maradona: The Dubai Years Ep. 5

June 28, 2021

Ten years ago, Diego Maradona stunned the world as he arrived in the UAE to manage club team Al Wasl. In this series, Paul Radley, sportswriter for The National, and football correspondent John McAuley will be looking back at the time when Maradona mania arrived in the UAE.

Subscribe to this five-part special to hear the story in full.

Produced by Ayesha Khan and Arthur Eddyson.

Diego Maradona: The Dubai Years Ep. 4

Diego Maradona: The Dubai Years Ep. 4

June 21, 2021

In stark contrast to his gilded playing career, Diego Maradona never won a trophy as a manager. His spells in charge of teams were only ever brief, and often ended in turmoil.

And yet those who played for him during his time in the UAE remember him with deep affection. They describe a manager full of empathy, warmth, and charisma, who would back them - even when all was lost.

In Episode 4 of our podcast series, hosts John McAuley and Paul Radley hear from a number of players who were managed by Maradona at Al Wasl and Fujairah.

The question to each of them was a simple one: what was it like to be coached by one of the most effervescent characters in all of sport?

Subscribe to this five-part special to hear the story in full.

Produced by Ayesha Khan and Arthur Eddyson.

Diego Maradona: The Dubai Years Ep. 3

Diego Maradona: The Dubai Years Ep. 3

June 14, 2021

Diego Maradona is, for many, the greatest footballer to have ever played the game. So what made him so good?

In 1982, when aged 22, he moved from Boca Juniors to Barcelona for a world-record $7.6 million fee.

During his two years at Camp Nou, Maradona was a constant thorn in the side of arch-rivals Real Madrid, even helping Barcelona defeat the old enemy in the 1983 Copa del Rey final.

He would spend two spells at Boca, returning in 1995 following an ignominious exit from the World Cup the previous summer. Two years later, he brought down the curtain on his professional career with a 2-1 victory away to bitter rivals River Plate.

That wasn’t technically when Maradona hung up his boots, though. In 2011, he arrived in the UAE to manage Al Wasl, and was a regular on the 5-aside or 7-aside pitch. Apparently, he treated those games as anything but recreational.

In Episode 3 of our podcast series looking at the Maradona's time in the country, hosts Paul Radley and John McAuley speak to a former opponent at Real Madrid, an ex-teammate at Boca, and even a close friend who was tasked with organising the weekly “friendly” matches in Dubai.

True to form, they attest to the fact the World Cup winner could be a handful on and off the pitch.

Subscribe to this five-part special to hear the story in full.

Produced by Ayesha Khan and Arthur Eddyson.

Diego Maradona: The Dubai Years Ep. 2

Diego Maradona: The Dubai Years Ep. 2

June 8, 2021

Diego Maradona was a magnet for news throughout his career, and his relationship with the media rarely ran smooth.

When he came to Dubai a decade ago to manage Al Wasl, the glare of the limelight might have been less harsh than it had been for him in Buenos Aires, Barcelona or Naples. And yet he still managed to find his way into scrapes.

From kicking supporters of his own team, wading into the stands to remonstrate with opposition fans, and fostering fierce rivalries both near and far, Maradona frequently vented his fury.

In Episode 2 of our podcast series looking at his time in the country, hosts Paul Radley and John McAuley speak to those tasked with trying to keep track of El Diego’s escapades in Emirates.

Subscribe to this five-part special to hear the story in full.

Produced by Ayesha Khan and Arthur Eddyson.

Diego Maradona: The Dubai Years Ep. 1

Diego Maradona: The Dubai Years Ep. 1

June 7, 2021

It marks one of the most extraordinary developments in UAE sport, a moment that carried Emirati football beyond its borders and to the world. Ten years ago, in May 2011, Diego Maradona was announced as the new manager of Al Wasl, a Dubai-based club fourth in the nascent UAE Pro League.

The previous summer, Maradona had coached Argentina at the World Cup in South Africa, aiming to lead his country to football’s greatest prize, just as he did most famously as a player in 1986. Now he was appointed head coach at Wasl, a decorated club in the UAE top flight but without a trophy in four seasons.

Maradona signed a two-year contract, promising to restore his new employers to former glory. It did not quite work out that way, but Fifa’s joint player of the century would go on to make Dubai his home for the best part of the next decade.

To commemorate that remarkable period, The National has created a podcast series entitled “Diego Maradona: The Dubai Years”, with insight from some of the people who knew best the colourful Argentine during his time here.

In Episode 1, hosts Paul Radley and John McAuley detail the whirlwind moment Maradona was considered as Wasl manager, what it meant for UAE football, his arrival in the Emirates, and that first press conference in which the World Cup winner set the stage for what became a rollercoaster ride of emotions.

Subscribe to this five-part special to hear the story in full.

Produced by Ayesha Khan and Arthur Eddyson.

Nigel Shadbolt on the ideals of artificial intelligence

Nigel Shadbolt on the ideals of artificial intelligence

May 20, 2021
Sir Nigel Shadbolt, chairman of the Open Data Institute which he co-founded with Sir Tim Berners-Lee, talks about the ethics of AI. 
Super League shambles - 48 hours when the game self-destructed

Super League shambles - 48 hours when the game self-destructed

April 21, 2021
When plans were revealed for a new European Super League, featuring the biggest football clubs in Europe, initially 12 teams signed up. Six of them were from the English Premier League - Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea. There was to be no relegation for the 15 founder members.

Dominic Hart, sports editor at The National, talks to Andy Mittin, The National’s European football correspondent, about the reaction to the announcement and the clubs withdrawing.

Jordanian teen sensation Issam Alnajjar on his newfound success

Jordanian teen sensation Issam Alnajjar on his newfound success

April 9, 2021
Hadal Ahbek, by singer-songwriter Issam Alnajjar, is one of Spotify’s most streamed songs right now. The National's Saeed Saeed talked to the singer, who even caught the ear of the The Weeknd's manager, about his viral hit and how he came up with the song.
Will the commute ever really go away?

Will the commute ever really go away?

April 6, 2021
Nothing underscores how we do not live in the future as much as the daily commute. If travelling by car, then chances are the vehicle is running on a combustion engine – around since 1886 – that is emitting carbon and hastening climate change. The morning headlines blaring from your speakers are transmitted through radio waves, a form of communication that alerted people on land that the Titanic was sinking back in 1912.

Elsewhere, the insult of public transportation is fairly universal. Timely, clean and reliable buses and trams are not the norm, but still the hallmark of a well-managed, well-funded city. And for those lucky enough to catch the breeze in their hair by walking or biking to work, well, those simple pleasures are more timeless than they are ultra-modern. Whichever mode of transport you use, the daily commute today does not look all that different from how our grandparents got to work. The pandemic has changed that, however, all at once but not for all. Now, more attention is being paid to places that make the commute more sustainable, safer and, in some cases, more fun.

The National spoke to more than a dozen experts in urban planning, economics, transportation and real estate to understand the changing shape of this global necessity, which has been around since Ancient Greece.
Is the Xbox Series X beating the PlayStation 5 in the console wars?

Is the Xbox Series X beating the PlayStation 5 in the console wars?

March 25, 2021
Gaming colleagues Faisal Salah and Michael Coetzee rate the Playstation 5 and the Xbox Series X based on how well they did since their release.