Who’s the best footballer of all time?
It’s an age-old debate and the answer is totally subjective.
So what’s the criteria? Most World Cups won? Most goals? Best skill? Most inspiring?
Also, football has changed over the decades.
Like how decent would Pele look if he was to play in today’s Premier League?
Regardless of all the permutations and debates, my mind has always been made up.
As a teenager, watching Diego Maradona was something else. Like Pele, he was ahead of his time, on a completely different level to anything we’d seen before (I was just too young to have watched Pele).
Diego was the ultimate footballer, but more than that, his attitude, his passion and his heart was spellbinding. So small, but so much aggression, aggression that played itself out in the football itself.
At times he was just unstoppable… his balance, quickness of feet, sublime skill, burst of power… the way he threw a dummy, man, to this day I can’t say I’ve witnessed and enjoyed watching a player anywhere near his calibre.
Yes, Lionel Messi’s magnetic dribbling is extraordinary and Cristiano Ronaldo’s records are unbelievable, but there’s also the man off the pitch!
Maradona, a real man of the people, a supporter of the poor, a crazy personality. What a life he led.
Of course he was dogged by ravenous addiction during and after his football career, but for me this just added another dimension.
As a recovered addict myself, his troubles resonated and created compassion. I was really appalled by the English press and various ex-pro’s following his passing regarding the infamous 1986 World Cup “Hand of God” moment.
Peter Shilton and of all people Gary Lineker (Mr Squeaky Clean) making reference to it. What a bunch of tossers. No f*****g respect. Of course, the whole of England was gutted but it was almost 35 years ago!
Testament to this football giant is that despite carrying the label as English football’s ‘Enemy number 1’, a minute’s applause happened before the start of every English Premier League game this past weekend.
This is extraordinary given that England was at war with Argentina in the early 80s over The Falklands/ Malvinas, during Maradona’s peak, a time he openly criticised the Brits.
I haven’t been surprised at the huge outpouring of emotion in Argentina (and Napoli). Hundreds of 1000s of people on the streets.
Three days of mourning. Do you think that would happen for Lineker? Not a chance, nor for Ronaldo or Messi for that matter, Maradona meant so much more than just being a “football” great.
We can debate all day and there ain’t a correct answer. But again for me, El Diego was the greatest of all time.
On Friday night I received a WhatsApp with pics of funeral parlour staff taking selfies with his naked corpse, which had been cut open down the middle of his chest for the autopsy. How stupid and disrespectful that was.
According to the pics I was sent, the very same guys had been found by the notorious Boca Juniors Ultras and beaten to death.
I’m not condoning violence, but given the scenario, they had it coming.
On a side note (and I mentioned this a couple of months ago), the Netflix documentary; Maradona in Mexico is well worth a watch, illustrating his demigod-like power, creating hope, inspiration and success in the drug and gang-ravaged city of Culiacán.
Wow, if I could only dream of living a tenth of the life dear Diego did… RIP.
Before I go, on a totally different subject (actually all football matters seem totally insignificant against the passing of Maradona), but what the hell is going on with Jurgen Klopp?
Ok, the Liverpool boss has been a tad ratty over the last couple of weeks, but he’s turned into a complete sourpuss – if you know what I mean.
Some of his players are the biggest culprits of diving/cheating, Mo Salah probably the worst.
I miss Kloppy Ze Clown… he used to be such a nice fella.
Anyway ladies and gents, stay safe, mask up, keep your distance and wash dem handies! Chat next week.