Kolkata, Dec 9: Diego Maradona's dislike for Pele is well-known and the Argentine again minced no words in saying that the Brazilian never had the respect of players that he commands.
"The biggest and main difference between Pele and Maradona is I have the respect of all footballers, which Pele does not have. Pele is a friend of those who manages football. I am not friends with them. I am with the players," Maradona said on the last day of his two-day trip to Kolkata.
"I do not have anything against Pele, but Pele has against me. Because he was second to Ayrton Senna (triple Formula One World Champion), and second to Maradona as well," he said.
During a FIFA poll to judge Footballer of the 20th century, Pele came second to Maradona. But later FIFA declared both as the best footballers of the 20th century.
Maradona also recalled his friendship with former Cuban president Fidel Castro and described the communist leader as a bright man.
"You get enriched every moment you spent with him, even when you say hello. We talked about football, politics, baseball. We talked of the USA as well. We talked about the dark sides of imperialism," he said.
Describing imperialism and its policies as the root cause of world economic problems, Maradona came down heavily on the US.
"The problems have been mainly created by the US. They say they are big, others small. They decide, and then we have to go by their decisions. But now, after what has happened to the US (economy), the time has come for every nation to take their own decisions," he said.
Maradona regretted terrorist strikes in the world, saying they were awful.
"We have to stop this because there are many innocent people, innocent kids, paying the price. They should not be paying the price," he said.