Mon Jun 14 06:48pm EDT
It's always good entertainment when the two best players of all time recede deeper into their aging-induced craziness and decide to lock verbal horns over whatever they feel like spouting off about to the newspapers on that given day. So it was the footballing world's lucky day today when the great Pele felt it was his turn to make some disparaging comments about Argentina manager Diego Maradona, possibly to direct some of the spotlight back in his direction after Maradona's World Cup victory and touchline theatrics from last Saturday's contest with Nigeria. Lights, camera, Pele!
Maradona allegedly implied that a "dark gentleman" - taken to mean Pele - had questioned the ability of the host nation to be the first African country to host the World Cup.
Pele hit back, saying: "I don't understand a few things. When he did his first television programme (in 2005) in Argentina and needed some help I went to Buenos Aires, played football with him and helped him out.
"Then I tried to help out with some adverts - but either he was late or never showed up."
The Brazilian continued sardonically: "I know he has remembered me now in South Africa. He must love me."
Former sports minister Pele, who said he had no intention of ever coaching Brazil "as I don't want to suffer the way (current coach) Dunga is suffering," took another swipe at Maradona, who took control of Argentina in November 2008.
"Maradona accepted the job as he needed work and needed the money. I saw how Argentina qualified with difficulty. But it is not Maradona's fault; it is the fault of those who put him in charge."
Potentially true, as Maradona is infamous for his bouts with cocaine addiction and financial troubles, but if your last resort gig is coaching a World Cup favorite instead of being the heavy breather on the end of the drive-thru intercom at McDonald's, then I'd say that's overall a win for Diego.
[Photos: See more photos of Diego Maradona]
I think before all of this back and forth goes any further, Pele needs to make his international sign of peace with Maradona and arrange for a photo-shoot to take place of them holding a football between their heads. Only then will it all be OK.
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