Posted January 26, 2014

Diego Maradona: Pelé will always be second best soccer player to me

Soccer
Diego Maradona (Stefania D'Alessandro/Getty Images)

Diego Maradona won the 1986 World Cup with Argentina. (Stefania D’Alessandro/Getty Images)

Diego Maradona is 53 years old and Pelé is 73, but that hasn’t stopped the former from perpetuating his feud with the Brazilian over who the better player was.

Pelé received the Ballon d’Or Prix d’Honneur in Switzerland last week. He was ineligible to win the original Ballon d’Or, which is given annually to the year’s top player, because the award was reserved for European players at the time.

But Maradona wasn’t impressed by the honor bestowed upon his rival.

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“How can you say that Pelé received the Ballon d’Or before me? I received the award in Paris [in 1996]. So to make Pelé the first one to receive the award before me is a huge mistake,” the Argentinian said, according to an ESPN report.

“According to me, Pelé will always remain second best in football when compared to Maradona. Look at it this way, in his own country, Brazil, Pelé is the second best sportsman after Ayrton Senna [the former F1 driver].

“Pelé 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.

Maradona is currently Dubai’s sports ambassador, ESPN reports.

Said Maradona: “I am happy with what I am doing for football and for myself. I am content living in a home in Dubai, but Pelé lives in FIFA.”

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132 comments
MalditoCuliao
MalditoCuliao

Maradona is the greatest football player that ever played the game. PERIOD!

This is not just my opinion, but the opinion of the majority of the world who voted Maradona as the FIFA player of the century, via popular internet vote.

Anyone who disagrees is either: i) English, against whom Maradona scored the greatest goal in World Cup history, ii) Brazilian, who believe that comparing the "stone-age," "turtle-paced," "white-glove" football that was played in the Jurasic era, during which Pele played, with the modern era is even possible, or iii) an ignoramus who knows nothing about football.

I'll take this a step further. Messi is better than Pele. But Messi does not deserve to be even compared with Maradona. Thus, Pele is not even the second best.

Lasvegas94
Lasvegas94

sorry Maradona, there is room for only one 'Best Player' which by all perspectives is Pele……The hand of God should not make you think you're an all timer….. shut the hell up, stop hating and deal with reality. The hand of God remember, made you savior of Argentina but at the same time World wide cheat!

johndawkins
johndawkins

Maradona's "greatest" moment was cheating with his hand which eliminated England. His cocaine fueled play and who knows what other drugs was spectacular at times. He was explosive but no more explosive than Ronaldo (BR) in his prime or even Romario. Aside from the obvious pathetic flaws in Maradona, he is not even close to being as good as Messi. He was the pride of Argentina during a very hard time and became an inflated, unquestioned symbol for his wonderful countrymen to hold sacred. In truth, Argentina deserved better and they go Messi, a truly blessed and amazing player. 

I would even put Cruyff as much better than Maradonna by a large margin. Almost any independent and objective coach would agree and pick 10-15 players ahead of Maradonna to have an "All-time Team". Messi, Zidane, Eusebio, Ronaldo (Br), Ronaldo (P), Beckenbauer, Di Stefano, Pele, Garrincha, Puskas, Platini, Xavi, Iniesta, Ozel, Oliver Kahn, Drogba....too name a few that I would select over Maradonna. 

Sadly, Maradonna still gets press. I guess their is entertainment value beyond the squeaky-wheel factor.  

jay0337
jay0337

Why is it always Pele and Maradona. There are other greats to compare them to as well. Here are the stats for Pele from FIFA world cups. He has 3 world cups mostly because of his team mates


Most World Cup All-Star appearances

Djalma Santos and Franz Beckenbauer, 3


Most World Cup goals

 Ronaldo, 15 

Most World Cup goals in one final 

Geoff Hurst, 3

Most World Cup goals in one tournament

Just Fontaine, 13

Most World Cup goals in one game

Oleg Salenko, 5

Most World Cup games

Lothar Matthäus, 25

Most World Cup games won

Cafu, 16

Most World Cup tournaments

Antonio Carbajal and Lothar Matthäus, 5



Year : 1958                     

Golden Boot winner (Goals): Just Fontaine (13)                     

Pele's goals: 6

Year: 1962                      

Golden Boot winner (Goals): 6 players tied at 4 goals

Pele's goals: 1

Year: 1966                    

Golden Boot winner (Goals): Eusebio (9)

Pele's goals: 1

Year: 1970

Golden Boot winner (Goals): Gerd Muller (10)

Pele's goals: 4 (Jairzinho scored 7 goals for Brazil)

Pele was Pele because of his team mates. And even in the great World cup winning Brazilian team he comes down the order when you compare World cup records

jay0337
jay0337

You are just comparing Pele with Maradona. There are other greats to compare him to as well. Here are the stats for Pele from FIFA world cups. He has 3 world cups mostly because of his team mates


Most World Cup All-Star appearances

Djalma Santos and Franz Beckenbauer, 3


Most World Cup goals

 Ronaldo, 15 

Most World Cup goals in one final 

Geoff Hurst, 3

Most World Cup goals in one tournament

Just Fontaine, 13

Most World Cup goals in one game

Oleg Salenko, 5

Most World Cup games

Lothar Matthäus, 25

Most World Cup games won

Cafu, 16

Most World Cup tournaments

Antonio Carbajal and Lothar Matthäus, 5



Year : 1958                     

Golden Boot winner (Goals): Just Fontaine (13)                     

Pele's goals: 6

Year: 1962                      

Golden Boot winner (Goals): 6 players tied at 4 goals

Pele's goals: 1

Year: 1966                    

Golden Boot winner (Goals): Eusebio (9)

Pele's goals: 1

Year: 1970

Golden Boot winner (Goals): Gerd Muller (10)

Pele's goals: 4 (Jairzinho scored 7 goals for Brazil)

Pele was Pele because of his team mates. And even in the great World cup winning Brazilian team he comes down the order when you compare World cup records

RickPotts
RickPotts

53 and still a flaming @sshole.  I would agree that Maradona is the best of all time......at pie eating.  Is he below 250 lbs yet?  And what was with his misshapen pumpkin head a couple years ago? Just like peanut butter and jelly, rum and coke, and salt and pepper.....Maradona and arrogance are as timeless as ever  .  Just go away fool.

magic mushroom
magic mushroom

I guess drug abuse has affected this guy tremendously. we all know how you won against the english side in 86 world cup, you call it hands of god all you want but at the end of the day it is a cheaters way of getting away with it. I can say for sure you are not even on the top 10 all time soccer player list. 

look@thebrightside
look@thebrightside

what a gentleman. a true class act !

i love how pele doesnt even give this monkey the time of day. 

JohnSmith23
JohnSmith23

Maradona was incredible in 1 cup.  Pele won several.  The 2 players played in different era's.  I'm pretty sure the level of competition was more difficult for Maradona.  I am pretty sure that IF Argentina were to win this World Cup.  Lionel Messi would be Argentina's best ever.  Just a bunch of talk that makes Maradona look bitter.

sngfx
sngfx

lulz


In the US, probably the least knowledgeable country in the world in terms of worldwide soccer, all kids know who Pelé is. I'm nearly 40 and I'd never heard of prima maradona until about 4 years ago, and that was only because of the time he cheated and knocked a ball into the goal with his hand.


If given the choice of an enduring legacy of a bicycle kick into the net versus knocking the ball in with your hand, I think the choice is obvious.

mariodestrop
mariodestrop

i talked to a lot of people , old and young ...and the old ones say that pele was the most complete player on the planet....i favor maradona for a few reason coz i am from his era...but to be honest i never seen anyone like ronaldinho !

Stigmata
Stigmata

Cristiano Ronaldo is better than Maradona, just imagine if he played with a team like Spain...

mystafugee
mystafugee

As for the off the field stuff, yes, congrats to Pele for brown-nosing his way to the top. What a joke, next time I want to hear his opinion, I'll just read the FIFA press release.  Say what you want about Maradona but at least he has the courage to speak out (rightly or wrongly).  

mystafugee
mystafugee

Look, in truth it's unfair to hold it against Pele for not leaving since his government played a role in it.  Having said that, if you're going to start bringing his goal and assist total as an argument on his behalf, then yes, the level of competition at that point matters.  Do some of you listen to yourselves when talking about stats?  By this logic, Mario Jardel was better than Zidane (check the numbers, Jardel was clearly superior).  I guess Kevin Phillips was better than Ryan Giggs.  


As for Maradona's drug use, tax-evasion, etc, what does that have to do with anything?  This isn't a citizenship award debate.  


As for cheating, that's what Pele had to do to win the FIFA World Player of the Century Award.  

spikevicious
spikevicious

I thought Eusebio was the 2nd best, and he's barely left us.

DavidHarte
DavidHarte

Sorry, Maradona's greatest moment was only possible because he cheated.


Changes everything (except in Argentina…).

DanielMorales
DanielMorales

Pele played for Santos his whole career and than NY Cosmos while Diego played for Argetinos Juniors, Boca Juniors, Barcelona, Napoli, Sevilla, Newells Old Boys.  Diego traveled the world winning Championships with different clubs while Pele stayed in the comfort of Brazil because he was worshipped as a God.  Pele never really tested his abilities in Europe against the worlds best instead chose to stay in Brazil where he was by the far the best player.  Yes Pele has 3 World Cups for brazil but the World Cup only had 16 teams when he played. The amount of teams allowed to qualify was expanded from 16 to 24 1982 .  The World Cup became more difficult to win in Diego's time.  Pele has never done anything outside of Brazil while Diego has won championships in Argentina, Spain and Italy.  Diego will always be the better player in my eyes because of what he accomplished not only in Argentina but in Europe as well.  That is the biggest difference between both players, Diego traveled the world testing his abilities in Different leagues against the BEST COMPETITION while Pele was suffice schooling his fellow Brazilians ONLY.  At the end of the day, i rather have Diego's trophy case than Pele.  You can mock Diego's off field antics all you want, but when it comes to the beautiful game he truely tested himself against the Worlds Best and never settled for only beating his fellow countrymen. 

GeorgeLuo1
GeorgeLuo1

You gotta be fair with poor Diego...he wasnt really specific no.2 on what...snorting,scoring with the hand of God,hallucinating..evading tax payment,being on the run ?

KevinAustin
KevinAustin

Sounds like Diego is snorting everything again.

RichLGerhold
RichLGerhold

What a complete looney. I think the massive drug use has warped his brain. He's not even the best Argentinian to play game, that honor would undoubtedly go to Alfredo Di Stéfano, who never got to play for the national team due to a variety of reasons. 


When one of your two most famous goals is from the most blatant hand ball in the history of the sport.........um yea, you're so awesome Diego.... 

Anyone who thinks Senna is a bigger athlete then Pele is either mentally retarded, or high; perhaps due to his major cocaine use Diego now qualifies for both.


stay classy (prima)Maradona


rtinfow2
rtinfow2

@MalditoCuliao  You aren't Argentine, are you?


I've seen every World Cup since 1962 many times, including all 1966 - present semis and finals viewed live.  In my opinion Pele was a far more creative player than Maradonna, particularly his vision and aerial prowess.  He had unbelievable ability to elevate.  


And if we want to talk about personal character and integrity, Maradonna besmirches every Argentine with his arrogance, cheating, womanizing, and drug use.  Talk to people in Naples about how he behaved when he was there, walking away from restaurant checks and debts.  He is truly a despicable being, not worthy of the least adulation.


AlenSugar
AlenSugar

@MalditoCuliao  i got one thing to say, Hand of God!!!


that one moment in soccer history kept him from being the best player of all time.   he is a dirty cheater, and a drug addict and a horrible, horrible coach. ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

JulioEcheverria
JulioEcheverria

@johndawkinsLook, Maradona has a lot of flaws out of the field. True, but these are the reasons why he was, is and will continue to be, until dethroned, the greatest to ever play the game:

1) His greatest moment wasn't the hand of God. it was the goal he scored after. Everyone in the world agrees that's the greatest goal scored in a WC. Probably in any competition.

2) He DID play in Europe. That's something Pele never did. look at the tape from when Pele played in Brazil. Look at how they would move out of the way for him. Maradona brought a nothing team to the forefront of world football. And he did it single handed.

2) Argentina in 86 never wins the WC. Take away Pele from any of those WC champ Brazil teams, and they most likely win it. Especially the 70 team, which is the greatest team assembled for a WC.

3) Maradona didn't depend on others creating game flow. Instead, he created the flow. Pele never did that. Ronaldo neither, Romario less.

4) In 1990, he was the one and only reason they made it to the final, on 1 leg. BTW, they eliminated Brazil and italy on the way to the final.

5) Netherlands never won, and the big games, when they needed him most, Cryuff disappeared. Maradona shined.

6) your argument that his play was based on drugs is ridiculous. Read up on his story before you make a comment like that. When he started using, in naples, his game went down drastically, not better. plus, I dare you to go do a gram of blow and try to run around. Just a silly comment.

7) Puskas, Di Stefano, Zidane. All very good players. None at the level of either Pele or Maradona.

8) For your information, Pele has dirtier stuff. It just so happens that when Maradona was in his prime, a Brazilian was in charge of FIFA. Havelange hated Maradona and vowed to never give him the cup again. hence, USA 94 for, over the counter nasal spray. On to Pele, his son is a convicted drug dealer in Brazil. per court documents, all his relationships were built through his dad. He dated Xuxa. he had a young kid have sex with her first so she would be "ready" for him.

Basically, all your arguments are based on his personal life, none on his athletic life. What he does, or doesn't do is none of yours or anybody's business.

But, like him or not, no one will ever make the beautiful game more than that. he played with heart and passion every single time he touched the pitch. He was bigger than the game, and that can't be denied.

rtinfow2
rtinfow2

@jay0337  Numbers mean very little.  You have to see them play.  Both were electric, had the ability to create where there was nothing, to single handedly turn games around.

Matthew W
Matthew W

@jay0337 

i never bothered to look up his goal numbers from the tournaments...pretty low  if you ask me. then again his fans will say he set up all those other brazilian goals. 

mystafugee
mystafugee

@jay0337 Agreed, saying he won 3 world cups means his better discounts his teammates.  

mystafugee
mystafugee

@RickPotts Thanks for focusing on the argument, you immediately start bringing up stuff that has nothing to do with it.  

JulioEcheverria
JulioEcheverria

@magic mushroomName the top 10. Plus, you forget the greatest goal ever scored, in the same game boss. Speaking of cheating, how did England win on their home soil?

mystafugee
mystafugee

@magic mushroom Never mind the fact that if you take away that goal it's still 1-1.  He's not Top 10?  Name 10 better players.  

brs386
brs386

@look@thebrightside Are you kidding me?

Do a basic search on the internet and you'll see an entire flame war between these two knuckleheads.


"Quiet, they're each poets"

JulioEcheverria
JulioEcheverria

@sngfxPele played in the states. That doesn't mean anything. Americans only know about 10 yrs worth of football. Ridiculous.

mystafugee
mystafugee

@sngfx Most people in the US know David Beckham, is he the second best player of all-time?  


As for enduring legacy, who's WC goal was voted the best ever?  

ObedNation
ObedNation

@mariodestrop, I am right there with you. George Weah and Ronaldinho are my best players of all. I am still waiting to see who gonna take their place. Maybe CR7

mystafugee
mystafugee

@DavidHarte So that would have meant the score would be 1-1 and we all know England would have obviously won on penalties.  

rtinfow2
rtinfow2

@DanielMorales  Pele was declared a National Treasure by the Brazilian government and refused permission to play elsewhere until the end of his career.  He had no choice.

FranzMeyer
FranzMeyer

@DanielMorales Did you ever see Pele play?  he eye test gives it to Pele.  I do not care if he stayed at home or not.   Just because the world cup was expanded does not mean it became more difficult to win.  Your stay at home criticism of Pele is weak.  It is your prerogative to chose your best played, but the argument you make will not convince many others.  Take your trophy case and the drugs that go along with it.  When you look at it and see a reflection it will be that of Pele who went before Marodona and originated much of the game that followed. To my way of thinning, it is the creativeness of Pele on the ball that  sets him apart even today.


Ebullient
Ebullient

@DanielMorales In Pele's heyday it wasn't anywhere near as common for Brazilian players to fly the coop for Europe as it is now.  It's not really something that can justifiably be held against him when comparing him to Maradona, who played in an era when it was almost expected that quality Argentine players would go to Italy or Spain. 

mystafugee
mystafugee

@GeorgeLuo1 Yeah since this award is about being a good person.  Having said that, Pele's just a parrot.  

Hrelja98
Hrelja98

@RichLGerhold Ayrton Senna was way bigger athlete than both of these, he was and still is in level with God in Brazil. He was physically and mentally fit way more than these two, and popularity he achieved in Brazil is way bigger than Pele's. After winning 1994 world cup one of Brazil players said that Pele was hero, but Senna was something else.And that comes from a footballer. But even if we dont count his popularity in Brazil he still was bigger athlete than both of these. Fitnes, domination and level of success of his speak for themselves. 

mystafugee
mystafugee

@RichLGerhold Di Stefano did play in the World Cup, it's generally best not to talk about it.  

jay0337
jay0337

@Matthew W @jay0337  Pele had 5 assists in 1970 but the other two cups Brazil won, he had a smaller role to play...To be fair to him, I think he was injured during the 62 and 66 world cups but in 58 and 70 world cups when they won, he was not the top scorer and only in the 70 world cup he lead in assists


My point is that he has outstanding numbers with or without the world cup stats...No doubt about it but to reduce the debate of the best ever to just Pele and Maradona is ridiculous. 

james koenig
james koenig

In the late 70's some 40 plus years Pele plaiyed. lots and lots of kids play every day. But we have many other sports.

james koenig
james koenig

In the US we know his wife first and his flop in LA , this is an age thing,do you want Wilt in the middle or M Jorden at guard?

I was a teammate of Rick Davis who played with Pele so my group would vote that way.

On my college team I was 3rd in age goals. But had 3 plus more asst. per game. Mmmmmm

Part is ego.

Just win baby.

mystafugee
mystafugee

@Ebullient @DanielMorales maybe it shouldn't be held against him but his supporters keep trotting out his goal numbers so that brings in the question about the level of competition.  

RickPotts
RickPotts

@Hrelja98 @RichLGerhold Really?  "Race car driver" and "athlete" don't even belong in the same sentence.  What's more athletic.... running in a professional 90 minute soccer game or driving in a 3 hour race?  Sportsman I can live with but not "athlete" for Senna.

Lasvegas94
Lasvegas94

@mystafugee 

what the hell, the creativeness is what brings the greatness and distinguishes him from the rest. Therefore making him a better player.