Maradona tips Ronaldo to star in Euro 2016 while burying the hatchet with Pele
Maradona praised Ronaldo at the same event where he was critical of Messi
Portugal’s talisman Cristiano Ronaldo has been predicted to be the star of Euro 2016 by Argentine legend Diego Maradona. The star of the 1986 FIFA World Cup lavished praise on the Real Madrid frontman, while also meeting and burying the hatchet with long-time rival and Brazilian icon, Pele, at a promotional event dubbed ‘The Friendship Game’.
Maradona and Pele fielded questions at the promotional event in Paris, with the Argentine waxing lyrical about the qualities of Ronaldo. Maradona left no one in doubt about who he believes will be the star of Euro 2016, saying “Cristiano will be the star, no doubt. He’s one of those players who practically on his own can put a team in the final. He’s the heritage of football. Anyone who likes football, likes Cristiano.”
The Portuguese side have been accused of being a one-man team, with the pressure of the entire nation resting on Ronaldo’s shoulders, but Maradona dismissed the notion that it would affect the Real Madrid star, saying “I don’t think a player of his experience is under pressure in a tournament. The ones who should feel pressure are the defences that have to mark him in the game.”
Maradona and Pele resolve long-standing feud
While the current footballing universe draws itself into knots over the Messi vs Ronaldo debate, the duo themselves share a respectful rivalry, in stark contrast to the feud between Pele and Maradona. The South-American rivals have uttered a multitude of graceless comments in the past, leaving no one in doubt about how they felt about each other.
However the duo embraced each other at the promotional event in Paris, a 5 vs 5 contest termed the ‘Friendship Game’, with legends like David Trezeguet and Clarence Seedorf taking part. Maradona struck a conciliatory tone, saying “No more fighting. I want to thank Pele, we know who he is and who he will always be. We need icons like him.”
Pele responded similarly, saying “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. This is a moment of peace.”