PARIS: Football legends Pele and Diego Maradona attended a historical friendly
game here to spread the message of unity and peace, pursued by the
forthcoming Euro 2016.
It was for the first time on Thursday the
two greatest players of all time appeared together in a game, leading a
5-man side respectively, at Palais Royal in Paris, Xinhua news agency
Pele's team comprised of Rio Gavin Ferdinand, Fernando
Hierro, Nelson Dida, Crespo and Bebeto, while Maradona's side had David
Sergio Trezeguet, Gino Peruzzi, Ciro Ferrara, Marco Materazzi and
Clarence Clyde Seedorf.
All these former stars are Friends of
Hublot, a Swiss brand and official watch of the Euro 2016, which
organised the game to create the historical moment in soccer history.
and Maradona, who had been at odds around the year 2000 when FIFA
decided to have a vote to find the "Player of the Century", walked
slowly into the court after their teams, holding high each other's hand.
the vote 16 years ago, Maradona won the online poll comfortably with
about 53 percent, which led to concern that the age of internet users
meant more people who saw the Argentine play would be able to cast a
vote than those of an older generation who saw Pele.
Then in the
FIFA-organised poll among "football family" -- officials, coaches and
journalists, Pele won by a landslide 72 percent.
At the awarding
ceremony in Rome, FIFA decided to split the award in two and announced
Pele and Maradona as the two greatest players of all time.
a great moment of closeness together," said Maradona at the scene. "It
is so nice to have Pele so close here with us today and to see he is so
happy. It is so nice that we can be together. Such a great feeling."
said: "It's a big big moment and a big pleasure for me, because we come
here together for the peace, to talk about the peace. Thanks Hublot to
give us the opportunity, because today we have a lot of problems in the
Trezeguet told reporters: "It is an exceptional and
historical moment for Pele and Maradona to come together. It is a
friendly reunion of the two great players. For me, I meet many friends,
and it is a very good day."
The friendly game had two 15-minute
halves and a 10-minute break. Maradona replaced Hierro after the
interval and played the whole second half, scoring twice, but his second
goal was his own goal.
His team led 8-7 in the last minute and
Maradona deliberately kicked the ball into own net from close range to
make an 8-8 in the end, saying it was for friendship.
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