Argentina Coach Diego Maradona: I Was A Better Player Than Pele


‘El Pibe de Oro’ claimed that the Brazilian was ‘second-best’ to him.

Diego Maradona, the coach of the Argentine national team, claimed to be a better player than Pele ever was during an exclusive interview with FIFA’s official website.

Maradona, who will face his stiffest test yet as a coach when Argentina face arch-rivals Brazil in a decisive World Cup qualifier in Rosario on Sept. 5, was voted as the best player to have ever graced a football field, after a FIFA internet poll conducted nine years ago. Pele finished second to him.

“What matters is that when the people voted, he came second behind me. Nobody can take that away from me,” affirmed Maradona, who could never see eye-to-eye with the Brazilian legend.

The 1986 World Cup winner continued, “Do you know what? I played in European football for ten years while Pele played in South America. Yes he won World Cups and everything, but playing in Europe is something else entirely.”

While Maradona found wide success in the elite leagues of European football with teams like Barcelona and Napoli, Pele played almost his entire career at Brazilian club Santos. Maradona believes this gave him the edge over his rival.

“Not that that makes me much better than him or anything like that. When I played, the man-markers in Spanish and Italian football were like hunting dogs. They never left me alone.

“What matters is that when the people voted, he came second behind me. Nobody can take that away from me. And there was another vote in Brazil in which he came second behind Ayrton Senna. He needs to stop coming second,” he concluded.

Ironically, while Maradona only lifted the World Cup once, Pele did so three times, the first when he was only 17 years of age.


~ by footballdirecta on August 28, 2009.

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