Diego Maradona has launched a scathing attack on Pele and claimed the Brazilian will always be considered second best to him.
The duo have regularly bickered in public over their respective standing and Maradona was not impressed to see Pele lift an honorary award at the recent FIFA Ballon d'Or ceremony in Zurich. Maradona was handed a similar prize in the 1990s and believes three-time World Cup-winner Pele is, once again, in his shadow.
"How can people say Pele received the Ballon d'Or before me? I received the Golden Ball for services to football from France Football in 1996," the Argentine told reporters. "So to make out as if Pele is the first one to receive the award before me is a huge mistake. For 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 former Formula One racer Ayrton Senna.
"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 this year's Ballon d'Or to Cristiano Ronaldo, Pele uttered his name as 'Cristiano Leonardo.' This just shows where he belongs."
Maradona captained Argentina to success at the 1986 FIFA World Cup, also securing league championships in Spain with Barcelona, Italy with Napoli, and his homeland with Boca Juniors.
Pele, meanwhile, has three World Cups to his name — more than any player in history — and scored 1,283 goals in 1,363 games.
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- Diego Maradona