|Argentina's soccer team coach Diego Maradona arrives for a press conference in Pretoria, South Africa, Wednesday, June 16, 2010. Argentina will play South Korea for the Group B of the World Cup on Thursday. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)|
Maradona criticizes Pele, Platini
PRETORIA, South Africa—Diego Maradona made stinging comments about fellow soccer greats Pele and Michel Platini on Wednesday after the pair criticized Maradona's performance as Argentina coach.
Maradona said he was not surprised by their comments and that "Pele has to go back to the museum."
As for Platini, "I always had a very distant relationship with him -- hello and goodbye. We know how the French are and Platini is French and he thinks of himself as being more than the rest of the world. I've never paid him any attention and I won't do it now."
Earlier, Maradona had criticized Pele, who led Brazil to three World Cup titles, for doubting Africa's ability to organize a World Cup.
Asked about Brazil, Maradona said Argentina's fierce South American rival was not tested by North Korea in the 2-1 win on Tuesday.
"Brazil played a relaxed game, too relaxed," Maradona said. "Korea never challenged them. For (goalkeeper) Julio Cesar, it would have been the same to shower or not after the game.
"Brazil is Brazil ... and Dunga has done a good job. When more will be demanded of them, they will play better for sure."
Maradona said the general lack of scoring so far at the World Cup could be blamed partly on the teams' initial cautiousness.
"The World Cup is something redible and I'm not worried about the lack of goals. The goals will come and there are players here to make that happen," Maradona said. "Of course, in the first matches one is more careful than maybe one should be. The teams are studying their opponents, which is why there are fewer goals."
Maradona also assigned some of the blame to the much-maligned 2010 World Cup ball, saying the Jabulani was having "a large influence" on the low scores. He also asked the sport's authorities to pay more attention to the quality of the ball.