Soccer-Ardiles says feared for life during crash on Falklands

Reuters

BUENOS AIRES, Jan 23 (Reuters) - Former Tottenham Hotspur and Argentina midfielder Osvaldo Ardiles said he had feared for his life when he crashed the van he was driving during a visit to the Falkland Islands.

Ardiles suffered head injuries in Monday's crash but was out of danger when he spoke to Argentine reporters outside a hospital in San Fernando in his home country on Wednesday.

"When the car started to go (off the road), I thought it was really serious," Ardiles was quoted by the daily La Nacion on Thursday as telling TV channel C5N.

"I felt the car going away from me and I pressed on the brake slowly, then from behind they were telling me to accelerate but when I did we went off into the ditch, we rolled over four of five times."

Ardiles was at the wheel of the van with five passengers including friend and former team mate Ricky Villa, who shared in their World Cup victory with Argentina in 1978, and a camera crew.

"It was a human error, it was my mistake," said Ardiles, who was flown out of the Falklands to Argentina on a chartered plane after initially being treated for cuts at the King Edward Memorial Hospital in Stanley, the capital of the Falklands.

"We got out by the back door and all the blood in the vehicle was mine."

The group were filming a documentary on Ardiles to coincide with this year's World Cup in Brazil and the accident occurred on their way back from the war cemetery at Darwin.

Ardiles made his home in England after joining Spurs in 1978 but had a spell away from London at Paris St Germain in the 1982/83 season after Britain and Argentina went to war over the Falklands, known in South America as the Malvinas.

He returned to Britain where, after his retirement as a player, he forged a coaching career which included spells at Spurs and Racing Club in Buenos Aires and three titles with three different Japanese clubs. (Writing by Rex Gowar in London)

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