It doesn’t get much bigger than Pelé and Diego Maradona facing off in a soccer game, does it? The two global icons of the beautiful game were in Paris yesterday to take part in a one-off five-a-side game in the French capital as the city is gearing up to host the opening game of EURO 2016 between France and Romania.
There was never much love lost between the Brazilian and the Argentine, but they put their differences aside for the so-called Match of Friendship, organized by Hublot at the 17th-century Palais Royal in central Paris. The two superstars walked out hand in hand, with Pelé using a cane as he is recovering from hip surgery.
“I want to thank Pelé, we know who he is and who he will always be. We need icons like him,” said Maradona while Pelé struck an equally conciliatory tone.
“The most important is the message of peace. Many thanks to my friend Maradona for this opportunity and a big round of applause to the players who have been here today,” he said. “This is a moment of peace.”
But, was it really a peaceful moment? Not at all.
In the prelude, El Diego jumped at the chance to sound off on Lionel Messi. He has claimed that Lio lacks the character to be a leader, and D10s was caught on microphone discussing about the Rosarino issue with his fellow Pelé.
Pelé just asked Diego if he knows his countryman very well, and immediately Maradona offered an indiscreet response.
“He’s a really nice person, but he has no personality,” Diego said.