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 limited to those plying their trade in Europe.
But Maradona, who has frequently spoken out against the former Santos man in the past, was far from impressed at FIFA’s decision to honour the Brazilian.
“How are you able to say that Pele received the Ballon d’Or before me? I received the award in Paris [in 1996]. So to make Pele the first anyone to receive the award before me is a huge mistake, ” he said.
“According to me, Pele will always remain 2nd best in football when compared to Maradona. Consider it this way, in his own country, Brazil, Pele is the 2nd best sportsman after Ayrton Senna [the former F1 driver].
“Pele will 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, happens to be the Dubai sports ambassador, and added: “I am happy with what I am doing for football and for myself. I am content residing in a home in Dubai, but Pele lives in FIFA. ”