Dubai, Jan 24: Argentine football legend Diego Armando Maradona said here Thursday that Brazil’s football legend Pele would always be the second best footballer behind him, even after the FIFA righted Pele a Ballon d’Or Prix d’Honneur (golden football of honour) Jan 16, media reports here 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 three-time Formula-1 champion),” the Gulf News quoted Maradona as saying at a press conference in Dubai, Xinhua reported.
Maradona also criticised the global football association FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) for granting the first ever Ballon d’Or Prix d’Honneur to Pele.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter announced the award on the occasion of the annual Ballon d’Or for the footballer of the year Jan 16 in Zurich which went to Portugal’s football star Christiano Ronaldo.
Maradona called the award of honour for 73-year-old Pele who won the FIFA World Cup three times in 1958, 1962 and 1970 “a huge mistake”. During his active time, the Brazilian was not eligible for winning the award because it was only given to European footballers.
Maradona, also called the “hand of God” by his fans, won the Ballon d’Or in 1996 and 1986 World Cup.