BUENOS AIRES (AFP) Diego Maradonas brief but turbulent reign as Argentina coach has come to an end after the Argentine Football Association (AFA) elected not to renew his contract. The football legends 18-month tenure as manager of the Albiceleste had looked in doubt following tense talks with AFA president Julio Grondona on Monday which focused on Maradonas demands to retain his entire backroom staff. Before that meeting Maradona, whose final game in charge was last months 4-0 World Cup quarter-final humiliation by Germany, had made it plain he wanted to stay as long as he could keep his staff. I really want to stay, but it depends on Grondona, Maradona told El Show del Futbol on America TV at the weekend after returning to Buenos Aires following a trip to visit his friend, Venezuala President Hugo Chavez. If they touch a hair of one of my guys, even the masseur or the kitman, Im going. I want to continue the adventure but not with (just) anyone. I chose these people. I want to continue working with them. One was former Argentina defender Oscar Ruggeri, the target of criticism from Grondona after Argentinas last eight World Cup defeat. I already asked and I will continue to ask that Ruggeri joins me, Maradfona had insisted. Its a constant struggle. This is the first thing I will discuss with Grondona. Media reports suggest that Grondona had vetoed that wish, triggering the end of Maradonas 18-month spell in charge. AFA spokesman Ernesto Cherquis Bialo, confirming Maradonas departure on Tuesday, said: The president put some salient points to Maradona in their long conversation yesterday. And the executive committee unanimously resolved not to renew Maradonas contract as technical director of the national teams. Local media described the exit of the man who lifted Argentina to the 1986 World Cup title as the end of an era. Its official Maradona is no longer the coach of the Argentine team, said La Nacion newspaper. Its the end of a cycle, the paper added. Maradonas tenure was marked by his use of over 100 players as he grappled with various formations, a two month ban for a foul-mouthed outburst at journalists, an eleventh hour qualification for the World Cup, and the resounding defeat to Germany. With Maradona gone, focus has turned on the identity of his successor. One name in the frame is Alejandro Sabella, 55, who led Estudiantes to the Copa Libertadores last year. Other potential candidates include Miguel Angel Russo (Racing Club) and Sergio Batista, currently in charge of the Argentine under-20s and who helped steer the country to Olympic glory in the Beijing Games in 2008. Batista has been chosen to select a squad for the August 11 friendly against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin. According to Cherquis, there is no urgency to find a long-term replacement. Fans reportedly have a soft spot for Carlos Bianchi, who has enjoyed success with Velez Sarsfield and Boca Juniors, but his chances are believed to be slim due to a poor relationship with Grondona. Maradona is the greatest player in Argentinas history, having led the country to their second World Cup title in 1986 and a runners-up finish four years later. He took charge of the national side in November 2008 and oversaw an occasionally chaotic qualifying campaign that included a record 6-1 rout at altitude in Bolivia. Initially, the side played well at the World Cup in South Africa and won all three group matches before beating Mexico in the last 16. Germany sent Maradonas men packing in the quarter-final. Argentina will host next years Copa America as they chase a first major trophy at senior level since 1993.