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18 Dec, 2019 16:02

'He was superior to everyone, including me': Diego Maradona makes surprising choice when asked to name the greatest player ever

'He was superior to everyone, including me': Diego Maradona makes surprising choice when asked to name the greatest player ever

Forget Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo or even Pele, as Diego Maradona selected fellow Argentine legend Alfredo Di Stefano as the world's best ever player when asked in a recent interview.

Di Stefano played for Real Madrid between 1953 and 1964 where he scored an impressive 308 goals in 396 appearances while also representing the national teams of Argentina, Colombia and Spain in a magnificent career in which he was crucial to the Madrid side's domestic and European dominance in the 1950s. 

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He won two Ballon d'Or awards during that period and became the top scorer in Real Madrid's history, until his tally was superseded, first by Raul and then by Cristiano Ronaldo.

And despite the exploits of the Portuguese in his own spell in the Spanish capital, as well as the outstanding career of Lionel Messi which has seen him claim SIX Ballon d'Ors, Maradona says that there was no comparison to Di Stefano when it comes to being the best to ever do it.

"I think the best was Di Stefano," Maradona told AS Argentina.

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"He was superior to everyone, including me. Pele did not want to recognize Di Stefano. Pele’s friends invented a trophy for him as the living legend of football. But even I have beaten him to become one of the best players in history."

Maradona, who is also universally acclaimed as being one of the top football players in history, also said that he would have won several more Ballon d'Or awards had his career extended, but also bowed to the achievements of Lionel Messi for holding the record for the most trophies won.

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"I think I'd have quite a few [Ballons d'Or],” he said. "But what Messi is doing is outstanding. I would never like to face Messi – not ever. The lad comes home, plays football, doesn't sing the national anthem and they say he's Catalan. I don't criticize Messi [like some others do]."

Maradona is currently manager of Argentine side Gimnasia de La Plata and also represented the likes of River Plate, Barcelona and Napoli. He was also the primary creative force behind an Argentina team which won the 1986 World Cup.