Former Liverpool ace and Scotland international Frank McGarvey has confessed that late Argentine legend Diego Maradona was a super hard nut to crack.
The former Celtic forward recalled how the then 18 year old made his look like a joke during an international friendly. Trying to stop rampaging Maradona he added was so frustrating he had to dump the idea to rather mark someone else in a match that ended 3-1 in favour of Argentina.
McGarvey told the PA News agency about one of his fondest football memories.
He said: “I was told to look out for this teenager, who was the real deal.
“He looked like a wee boy but he was unbelievable. He tore us to shreds.
“He had speed over five yards and then speed to get away from you.
“I remember chasing him. I was quick and he had the ball but he was running away from me and so I left him to David Narey and Paul Hegarty and went to mark someone else. He was too good for me. He was outstanding in every way.
“After that game I kept a close eye on what he was doing and what a player he became.
The former Celtic and St Mirren striker won his second Scotland cap against Argentina in a friendly on June 2, 1979 and was looking forward to coming up against the 18-year-old emerging superstar.
Maradona put on a show for the 60,000-plus Scottish crowd and scored the third goal – and his first for his country – in a comfortable 3-1 win for the then world champions.
The performance left McGarvey a life-long fan of the attacking midfield maestro and saddened to hear that the 60-year-old had died.
McGarvey who scored 179 goals in 499 career appearances opined that though Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo remain today’s sports greats with their impressive runs, they can be placed at par with Maradona who took football artistry to another level.
“Messi and Ronaldo are great players but nowhere near Maradona, he is the greatest.
“It is a very sad day for me. He is the greatest player I will ever see.”