Caracas, July 9: Argentine football legend Diego Armando Maradona has praised the large number of African immigrants playing for the European teams (Belgium, France, England and Croatia) that have entered the 2018 World Cup semifinals .
Speaking on a television show aired on the TeleSUR network on Sunday, Maradona talked about the players of African origin figuring in the four teams, reports Efe.
According to data presented on the show, 78.3 percent (14 out of 23) of France’s players were born in 11 different African countries, while the percentage of immigrants playing for England and Belgium is 47.8 percent.
Maradona spoke of a conversation he once had with Manchester United coach Jose Mourinho, who purportedly said the immigrants playing for European teams “know very well they are entering another world in which their day-to-day lives will be radically different.”
Maradona, however, criticized the “mafia” that exists in professional soccer leagues, in which “African players are taken to Europe to be nationalized, while the players must agree, as it is a way to improve their livelihoods.”
The Argentine football great said immigrant players “want an opportunity to prove their worth, to be able to eat four times a day. The way players are trafficked is terrible and this is happening like never before, in every large team.” IANS