ESPN FC: One of the great debates
Argentina legend Diego Maradona has renewed his long-running feud with great rival Pele, insisting that the Brazilian will always remain inferior.
Pele was awarded the Ballon d'Or Prix d'Honneur in Switzerland last week, after being ineligible to win the orginal Ballon d’Or during his playing days as it was then only for those plying their trade in Europe.
However, Maradona, who has often spoken out against the former Santos man in the past, was far from impressed at FIFA’s decision to honour the Brazilian.
“How can you say that Pele received the Ballon d’Or before me? I received the award in Paris [in 1996]. So to make Pele the first one to receive the award before me is a huge mistake,” he said.
“According to me, Pele will always remain second best in football when compared to Maradona. Look at it this way, in his own country, Brazil, Pele is the second best sportsman after Ayrton Senna [the former F1 driver].
“Pele will always be second, be it in international football or in Brazilian sports. The sad thing is that he is second best and he will continue to stay in that position.
“While presenting the award [this year’s Ballon d’Or] to Cristiano Ronaldo, Pele uttered his name as ‘Cristiano Leonardo’. This just shows where he belongs.”
Maradona, the former Argentina manager, is currently the Dubai sports ambassador, and added: “I am happy with what I am doing for football and for myself. I am content living in a home in Dubai, but Pele lives in FIFA.”