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Pele hits back in Maradona spat

17 September 09 17:40

Brazil legend Pele has hit back in his war of words with Diego Maradona by ridiculing the Argentine's 'hand of God' goal against England in 1986.

Last month, Argentina coach Maradona questioned Pele's record, saying he only played for South American clubs.

Pele responded: "Maradona was great but the best ever was Alfredo Di Stefano.

"Maradona could not kick with his right foot and did not score with his head. The only time he scored an important goal with his head, he used his hand."

Pele was referring to Maradona's first goal in Argentina's 2-1 victory over England in the quarter-finals of the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.

Maradona rose to challenge England keeper Peter Shilton and punched the ball into the net, fooling the referee.

He later scored a wonder goal, dribbling from just inside his own half and beating half the English midfield and defence before drifting past Shilton and sliding the ball home.

The Argentine had earlier said of Pele: "He won more World Cups. But playing in Europe is another thing."

Di Stefano played for his native Argentina in the late 1940s, but is more renowned for his exploits in Spain.

He played for Real Madrid between 1953-63 and scored 418 goals in 510 games. Di Stefano, who was twice named European player of the year, helped Madrid win five successive European Cups in from 1956.

He also took Spanish citizenship and played for the country 31 times, scoring 23 goals.

However, Di Stefano did not grace a World Cup finals tournament. Argentina did not play in Brazil in 1950 or Switzerland in 1954, while Spain failed to qualify for Sweden in 1958 and he was injured in the run up to the 1962 finals in Chile.

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