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Pele, Maradona impersonators compete for cash

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 11, 2014 at 10:02 pm •  Published: June 11, 2014
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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Just outside the Maracana Stadium's main entrance, the debate rages on: Who is the greatest football player of all time?

Over here is Argentinian Daniel Gonzalez, wearing Diego Maradona's 1986 World Cup uniform and a wig with his trademark black curls and performing the midfielder's waltzing warm-up routine.

Nearby is rival Marcio Pereira da Silva, dressed in Pele's No. 10 Brazil jersey and juggling a ball with his knees and shoulders.

In the run-up to Thursday's World Cup opener, the two street artists have been competing head-to-head — for the pocket change of fans from around the world, who flock to Brazil's Temple of Soccer, below the statue of 1958 captain Hilderaldo Bellini lifting above his head the first of the country's five championship trophies.

"Maradona and Pele are making peace," Silva said with a smile, stretching his arm around Gonzalez in front of a small crowd that included Mexican soccer fans in tall sombreros, well-dressed street preachers and a sunburnt cyclist who pedaled 3,500 kilometers from Argentina. "The fight is over. Now it's time to party."

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