Shilton: Messi lacks leadership qualities like Maradona

English goalkeeper legend Peter Shilton has put his money on Cristiano Ronaldo scoring a hat-trick at the Ballon d’Or. Shilton, who was here on Friday as the chief guest of the [email protected] Cup inter-school football tournament.

Legendary goalkeeper Peter Shilton was at Kozhikode as a part of [email protected] Cup inter-school football tournament.   -  K. Ragesh

English goalkeeper legend Peter Shilton has put his money on Cristiano Ronaldo scoring a hat-trick at the Ballon d’Or. Shilton, who was here on Friday as the chief guest of the [email protected] Cup inter-school football tournament, told reporters that he was voting for the Portugal striker to win FIFA’s World Player of the Year for a third year in a row because he was superior to Argentina’s Lionel Messi and Brazilian Neymar.

“Messi is hugely talented, but he lacks the leadership qualities of his compatriot Diago Maradona, who could win matches on his own,” he said. “Cristiano has also done that. Neymar is very young and he could only get better.”

Shilton felt the ISL was a good thing for Indian football, but India should focus on grass root level if it wanted to progress in football. “I think the inter-school tournaments like the one here need to be encouraged,” he said. “Yes, people back home in England are interested in the ISL as several managers and players from there are involved in it here.”

Questions about the ‘hand-of-god’ goal scored by Maradona in the 1986 World Cup quarterfinal match between England and Argentina were inevitable. “I maintain that the goal should not have been allowed,” said the man who was the closest witness, under the English bar.

“Our player Peter Reid had mimicked Maradona’s action with the hand. It was strange that the referee, who was standing close to Reid, didn’t see Maradona’s hand ball. No, England has still not forgiven Maradona for that.”

From among the goalkeepers, he picked Italy’s Gianluigi Buffon as the best in the world at the moment. “I have been a fan of him for a long time, but I also rate Manuel Neuer of Germany very high; he had a terrific World Cup last year,” he said. “The goalkeeping standard of the last World Cup was very high indeed; Costa Rica’s Keylor Navas, I felt, was the best among them.”

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