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Pele believes that the death of Diego Maradona should teach the world to “admire itself more” and spread a little more love.
The world of sports was shaken last week when the great Argentine Maradona died at age 60 after suffering cardiac arrest.
Former Brazilian superstar Pelé, who is now 80 years old, hinted that he was tired of being compared to Maradona, as the South American pair have for many years been widely regarded as the greatest players of all time.
People like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have entered that conversation of late, but Pele says that looking for winners during such debates can stifle appreciation levels.
In a new tribute to Maradona, Pele wrote: “A lot of people loved comparing us all their lives. You were a genius who enchanted the world. A magician with the ball at his feet. A true legend. But above all that, for me, you will always be a great friend, with an even bigger heart.
“Today, I know that the world would be much better if we could compare ourselves less and start admiring each other more. So, I want to say that you are incomparable. “
Mercurial Maradona won 91 games for his country between 1977 and 1994, scoring 34 goals internationally.
Pelé regretted not having a chance to say goodbye to Maradona in person, but said that the 1986 World Cup winner had managed to be influential, even in death.
In his message, published on Instagram, Pelé added: “Your career was marked by honesty. And in your own unique way, you taught us that we have to love and say ‘I love you’ much more often. Your quick departure didn’t let me tell you, so I’ll just write to you: I love you, Diego ”.
He illustrated their friendship with a series of photographs, dating back decades, beginning with an early encounter when a young Maradona watches Pele play the guitar.
“My great friend, thank you very much for our entire journey,” Pele wrote. “One day, in heaven, we will play together on the same team. And it will be the first time I have raised my fist in the air in triumph on the field without celebrating a goal. It will be because I can finally hug you again. “