Kolkata: Unveiling the India leg of the FIFA World Cup 2014 Trophy tour, World Cup winning Brazilian captain Carlos Alberto Torres on Sunday rekindled the age-old Pele vs Maradona debate as he rated his former teammate ahead of the Argentine legend.
"For me, No.1 is still Pele. Between Pele and (Diego) Maradona, Pele of course, he is my very close friend, like my brother. What he did with the ball is like a magician. I played with him for 12 years. Maradona also did well," said Torres here.
The captain of the victorious 1970 World Cup team and arguably Brazil's greatest side, Torres further hoped that India, despite its massive fan following in cricket, would make it to the highest stage in the World Cup.
"I wish in the near future that India would play the World Cup. Football needs your space. Let's help develop football in our country," the former right back said.
The 69-year-further invited Indians to come to Brazil and witness the quadrennial extravaganza to be held from June 12 to July 13.
"We know that we have the World Cup in Brazil. I am one of the ambassadors. I would like to invite you if it is possible. We are preparing our grounds to promote the best World Cup ever."
The event by Coca-Cola also witnessed retired batting legend Sachin Tendulkar in presence.
Asked about the most desirable thing he would have liked to hold, Tendulkar wittily replied: "Normally aise cheezen bahut kam hai (There are very few things like that).
"But I think to be in front of the Trophy is incredible. Something I wanted to hold, I already have held it. So I'm not worried about the rest," the maestro said referring to India's 2011 World Cup triumph in Mumbai.
There was also city's favourite cricket icon Sourav Ganguly, who urged parents to bring their kids to see the World Cup Trophy at the Police Ground.
"It's not only about taking pictures but realising the importance of the World Cup Trophy. Unless you touch and feel it, you would not know the importance of the World Cup. Parents please bring your children because that's very important."
This was for the second successive time the FIFA World Cup Trophy came to Kolkata before the tournament. The Trophy had come to the city before the last edition in South Africa.
India became the 52nd country to host the 6.3-kilogram real gold Trophy landed in a chartered plane from Nepal in its 95,000km journey.
The Trophy, that travelled to 84 countries in the last edition, will travel to 88 countries, including 50 first time nations before FIFA president Sepp Blatter hand it over to the winning team in Brazil on July 13.
In the early hours of January 25, it will head to Myanmar as part of Trophy's next sojourn.
Also present on the occasion were Bengal sports minister Madan Mitra and AIFF officials among others.
"With India hosting the U-17 World Cup in 2017, this is the beginning of the growth of football in India," a Coca Cola official said.
"It will be a game changer for Indian football. We can go to the next level in the next few years," AIFF general secretary Kushal Das said.