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Brooks Peck

A manic training session with Maradona, in pictures

Dirty Tackle

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So what's a World Cup non-matchday like in the company of Maradona? Lock eyes with the bearded phenomenon and let him slurp you into his dual time zoned land of mask-fearing madness.

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It starts with a smile. A smile that says, "You people have no idea what I'm capable of. For example, I just sucked the color out of your cameras and you won't realize it until get back to your makeshift offices and see the unexpectedly artistic images I've given you. Also, I've been sleeping in the backseat of your rental car for several days now."

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After that, he singles out his son-in-law, Sergio Aguero, and stands in front of him like a department store mannequin for half an hour. After that half hour, Maradona asks Kun if he thinks he would make a good statue. Kun shrugs. Maradona says, "Good. Now go make me a sandwich."

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From there, he takes the time to spend a tender moment with Nobel Peace Prize nominee Estela de Carlotto. He tells her that her hands smell like cookies.

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Then it's down to business. He gathers his squad and regales them with a cautionary tale about rambunctious children who send entirely too many text messages in the style of a troll played by Danny DeVito. The yarn ends with the words "passenger side airbags" and Maradona cackling like a witch even though there is no witch in the story.

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A quick water break follows.

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Finally, the closing prayer. He asks for continued success, good health, and that Pele is involved in an unfortunate accident that includes scalding hot lasagna, the roof of his mouth, and a silverback gorilla that will go to horrifying lengths to get a hold of said scalding hot lasagna. He gets the answers he hopes for and calls it a day.

Photos: Getty Images, AP, Reuters

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