Why Marcel Desaily and Carlos Valderrama think Diego Maradona was the best
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Why Marcel Desaily and Carlos Valderrama think Diego Maradona was the best

Marcel Desaily and Carlos Valderrama are unanimous in their view that Diego Maradona is the best footballer to have ever graced the game.

football Updated: Sep 08, 2017 22:55 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Marcel Desaily,Carlos Valderrama,Diego Maradona
Football Legend Carlos Valderrama and Diego Maradona posing together at Manama, Bahrain. (FIFA via Getty Images)

In the late eighties, one name dominated football across the globe - Diego Armando Maradona. With an unparalleled aura and charisma, Maradona had not just given Argentinians a new hero but a renewed hope to bring home the World Cup.

However, for the rest, he was simply a magician at business. Some managed to get close, but only in footballing terms. As a phenomenon, that was an impossible task.

For the Fifa legends at the DY Patil Stadium on Wednesday, it was an easy choice on being asked to name their icons when they were young. “Maradona, since there’s a real history behind him,” former French international Marcel Desailly blurted out. “Since he was young, he knew he was going to be big, I think like Neymar… He knew he was to become that champion. He was close to his teammates and created history for Argentina.”

Carlos Velderrama, too, joined the Maradona army. While El Pibe himself was a master at passing and was known for his precise skills with the ball, the Colombian stated that it was Maradona’s organisational skills that wooed him. “Not only because he was a fantastic player but because he also organised the game. He also scored goals and it was a very tough competition that Argentina had during those years… So it wasn’t an easy job,” he said.

Nigerian star Emmanuel Amuneke admitted that he wanted to emulate Maradona’s ‘Goal of the Century’. “The first time we saw him was the World Cup in Mexico. In the game against England, (it) was amazing. He took the ball from the middle and then find (sic) his way to the goal and score. The next day when we played, every one of us wanted to be Maradona,” he added.

For Fernando Morientes, however, it was Danish legend Michael Laudrup while Jorge Campos, the Mexican goalkeeper who outshines a few strikers when it comes to club goal tally, said he looked up to Dutchman Marco van Basten for inspiration. On realising that the audience perhaps expected him to name a goalkeeper, Campos said in a nonchalant manner: “Goalkeeper? No! I’m a forward. He (Basten) was the best forward in the world.”

First Published: Sep 07, 2017 13:23 IST