Benfica’s manager Jorge Jesus weighed in on the debate about who is the greatest player in the history of football, saying current superstars are unable to match the grandeur of Diego Maradona, who died unexpectedly last week. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are widely regarded as two of the best, if not the best, football players these days. However, Jorge Jesus strongly disagrees and says the forwards are nowhere close to Maradona.
"Today, among the best two in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo has a little of that (what Maradona had). Messi has nothing. He doesn't have any passion. Messi is a great player. But we're talking about life and feelings, having passion for the game and for football. I think Maradona was above anyone in that regard", said Jorge Jesus, who led Benfica to three titles in Primeira Liga and twice to silver medals in the UEFA Europa League.
Jesus said that Maradona was also above Pele, another iconic football player who has been dubbed the King of Football. According to the manager, the Argentine’s sublime performance can be explained by the fact that he was born a genius.
"Pele's still here, he's alive. Maradona was greater, not just because he was a genius, but because of how he showed it. That makes the difference for me. He was absolutely world-class, but he had a passion for the game, he was born to be a footballer, he was born with everything", Jesus said.
Maradona passed away on 25 November after suffering a heart attack. At the beginning of November, he successfully underwent surgery to remove a blood clot in his brain and was to be treated for alcohol addiction.
On Monday, Argentinian police searched the home of the athlete’s doctor after authorities opened an investigation into the death of the legendary football player. Police tried to establish whether Doctor Leopoldo Luque had shown negligence while treating the icon of millions. Luque said he has nothing to hide and said that he is proud of his treatment.
"We were all gathered to see the best for Diego: the doctors, myself, his family. Nothing could be done without his will. We sought to put together a containment scheme for the issue of the pills he was taking and to control alcohol consumption", said Dr Luque, adding that the surgery the athlete recently underwent had nothing to do with his death. "I had the full endorsement of the Argentine Society of Neurosurgery that Diego needed the surgery. Six doctors evaluated him".