Argentina legend, Diego Maradona, has renewed his long-running feud with his biggest rival, Pele, insisting the Brazilian – when compared to Maradona – will always be second best.
Pele was awarded the FIFA Ball d’Or Prix d’Honneur in Switzerland two weeks ago, after being ineligible to win the original Ballon d’Or during his playing days because it was then only awarded to European based players.
However, his long-term rival from Argentina was once again far from pleased with this special praise from FIFA for the former Santos man.
"How can you say that Pele received the Ballon d'Or before me? I received the award in Paris [in 1996]. So to make Pele the first one to receive the award before me is a huge mistake," he 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 former F1 driver].
"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 the award [this year's Ballon d'Or] to Cristiano Ronaldo, Pele uttered his name as 'Cristiano Leonardo'. This just shows where he belongs."
The former Argentina manager is currently the Dubai sports ambassador, and added: "I am happy with what I am doing for football and for myself. I am content living in a home in Dubai, but Pele lives in FIFA."
In 2000, Maradona was voted as ‘The Player of the Century’ in an internet poll, while FIFA opted to award its version of the prize to Pele and FIFA president, Sepp Blatter, who announced the award for Pele two weeks ago, again heaped special praises for the Brazilian.
“When we think of football, we think of his name above all others,” Blatter said.
“No other player has had such an influence on the sport or touched so many people. His verve and skill will never be forgotten.”
Pele is the only player to win the FIFA World Cup three times (1958, 1962 and 1970). He scored more than 1,200 goals in a playing career that spanned over two decades and is Brazil’s all-time leading scorer with 77 goals in 92 official matches.
Who was the better footballer between the two legends? Have your say in the comment section below.