Maradona was on another level - Zidane

EXCLUSIVE: The Argentine left a huge impression on a young Frenchman who watched him guide his nation to victory at the 1986 World Cup

By Raphael Cosmidis and Alberto Pinero

Zinedine Zidane says he is yet to witness a player with the ability of fellow Goal Hall of Fame inductee Diego Maradona.

The Argentine is the third player to be unveiled among the inaugural Hall of Fame entrants chosen by Goal readers, joining Zidane and Brazilian great Pele.

And the Frenchman has welcomed Maradona's selection, admitting the former Napoli playmaker's sensational performances at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico left a huge impression on him.

"He wasn't an influence, but he left his mark on me, on my mind, especially in 1986 because he was sensational at that time," Zidane told Goal.

"I was 14 then, and when you're 14 you're aware of everything. It's really at that moment that I became aware of the player he was, making differences as he did. He won games single-handedly.

"That's the extra thing he had over the other players. In 1986, he was on another level."

Then 25, Maradona led Argentina to the world title in what many still regard as the greatest individual performance in a major tournament, and when asked whether he has seen anyone match Maradona's ability, Zidane was unequivocal.

"No, I haven't. Even today, with all the good players there are and the ones coming through, I think it is really hard to do what Maradona did in 1986."

A panel of experts from across Goal's global network chose a shortlist of 15 former stars to enter the Hall of Fame, with readers deciding on the final five.

The remaining inductees will be announced on Thursday and Friday.