maradona flays pele

MESSI-MERISED: Argentina coach Diego Maradona. Pic.Enrique Marcarian. 15/06/2010. © Reuters
Argentina's coach Diego Maradona shouts at his players during a soccer training session in Pretoria June 15, 2010.REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian(SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP)
MESSI-MERISED: Argentina coach Diego Maradona. Pic.Enrique Marcarian. 15/06/2010. © Reuters Argentina's coach Diego Maradona shouts at his players during a soccer training session in Pretoria June 15, 2010.REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian(SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP)

DIEGO Maradona launched an extraordinary attack on fellow football greats Pele and Michel Platini yesterday as he predicted he could steer Argentina to a third World Cup triumph.

DIEGO Maradona launched an extraordinary attack on fellow football greats Pele and Michel Platini yesterday as he predicted he could steer Argentina to a third World Cup triumph.

"Pele should go back to the museum," Maradona said about recent criticism from the Brazilian great about his coaching ability.

"We all know what the French are like and Platini as a Frenchman thinks he knows it all," Maradona added after the Uefa president said Maradona was not as good a coach as a player.

"I feel capable of passing on to the players what I experienced as a footballer," he said.

"I want to be (world) champion and I have Messi, backed by a great team."

He said no other player in the tournament had come "within 40percent" of Messi.

"We have spectacular players who are not playing but who are behind, waiting for their chance," he said of Argentina's strength in depth.

Maradona's domination of the 1986 finals that Argentina won in Mexico remains unmatched and Argentines hope for a repeat from Messi.

Argentina face South Korea, the country they beat in their opening match in Mexico 24 years ago, at Soccer City today.

"Korea don't have a Messi, they're a very strong collective block, they're fast, they have a good team," Maradona said. "They're to be respected but we're out to win. We don't know how to speculate with a result."

Maradona was told that the Koreans would use tactical fouls to try to control Messi, who created a string of chances against Nigeria that turned their goalkeeper into the man of the match.

"A tactical foul is an asset and depending on what the referee sees he must show a yellow or red card," said Maradona, who had asked before Argentina's opening 1-0 win over Nigeria for Fifa to make their Fair Play slogan count. "We have to play calmly and let the referee do the rest."

South Korea lead the group on goal difference from Argentina after beating Greece 2-0 on Saturday. - Reuters

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