Pelé vs Maradona: Who Was Greater?

As endless as the discussion is, there is little doubt...

"Brazilian, how bitter you look, Maradona is bigger than Pelé", can be heard from time to time in the Argentine streets. Is it true? Was Maradona greater than Pelé? Let's see.

First, let's discard the simplest comparisons. The Brazilian was born earlier and was taller than the Argentinean. Therefore, in terms of age and height, we can clearly state that Pelé was bigger than Maradona.

A famous Argentine singer named Rodrigo had in his repertoire a song in praise of Maradona. In one part of it, one could hear that the ex-football player "confronted power." In Argentina, many people believe it, and try to differentiate him from Pelé because the latter held a position within FIFA. However, the Argentine was far from "confronting power"; on the contrary: Maradona stood out for flirting with power during most of his life.

In his youth, back in 1979, he visited the dictator Videla with the rest of the U-20 national team to receive the government's congratulations after winning the youth World Cup. But let's spare him some mercy, he was very young, he could have made a mistake that he wasn´t really aware of at the time. Later down the road, as an adult, he was photographed with Alfonsín, became friends with Menem -frequently accused of selling out Argentina because of his "neoliberalism"- and appeared before the media with a T-shirt in which he thanked another "neoliberal country-selling neoliberal": former Minister of the Economy Cavallo. He also appeared with De La Rúa, then with Néstor Kirchner and finally he declared himself an admirer of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

Maradona was not only smaller than Pelé, he was one of the smallest in the world. It was one of those that, in fact, should be a symbol of a country. Symbol of shame.

His flirtation with power crossed Argentine borders and he could not help but let himself be used as a useful idiot for some of the worst regimes on the planet, such as Castro's tyranny in Cuba or the Chavista regime that Nicolás Maduro continues today in Venezuela, which gave him a millionaire contract on TeleSur for doing a incredibly boring program called "Left-handed."

Maradona' s love for power did not end there. It is worth remembering when he told an Iranian diplomat in Argentina that he was "with the people of Iran" and that he wanted to "meet Ahmadinejad" (former president of the Islamic Republic), to whom he also sent a T-shirt as a gift.

So, on the one hand, we have a former member of a soccer organization and the other, an individual used as a useful fool by various governments, including several dictatorial ones. We can also affirm in this case that Pelé was greater than Maradona, and by a wide margin.

Maradona, in one of his television appearances, mockingly said: "Pelé made his debut with a boy"; implying that the Brazilian star's sexual initiation had been with a boy. While I am not aware that the Argentinean's statements were true, neither am I aware whether Maradona had homosexual encounters, as was rumored. The truth is that I am also not interested in who each individual sleeps with, as long as it is by mutual agreement with whom he or she does so. Humiliating another for having same-sex relationships is, in reality, humiliating oneself.

This is nothing more than homophobia, perhaps influenced by Maradona's Iranian friends, who persecute and murder gays for the simple fact of being gay. In any case, if we are talking about morality, let's put both ex-footballers in the balance: one of them committed the crime of perhaps having slept with one boy, while the other left pregnant women scattered around the world with children he refused to acknowledge. Who was the bigger person then? I think Pelé. You?

Maradona was that. It was his Che tattoo Guevara on his arm while enjoying the greatest luxuries wherever he went. He was the one who was comfortable with and around power, no matter what it did. He was the one who hated the media but sought them out because he needed them. He was the one that should be a source of shame wherever he went, however, he remained a compelling symbol for many.

Maradona was not only smaller than Pelé, he was one of the smallest in the world. He was one of those that should have been a symbol for the country, in fact, he became more a symbol of shame.