FIFA president Gianni Infantino had an awkward moment during the presentation of the US/Mexico/Canada 2026 World Cup (with the final to be held in New York/New Jersey) when he was asked to choose between Diego Maradona and Pele. Argentina vs Brazil.
His was an agile response in which Infantino decided not to gamble and opted to choose the two legendary players and legends of world football, showing sharp thinking and quick wit to avoid a tough question.
The question did catch him off guard as he was expecting to be asked questions about the World Cup, which is now just two years away, but he navigated the prompt expertly to remain firmly perched on the fence. It all started when the Fox Sports host, Jenny Taft by asking him, “If you had to pick an all-star team, who would you pick first, Maradona or Pele?”
The FIFA executive responded without hesitation: “I would put Diego Maradona on the left and Pele on the right, sharing the attack.”
An epic final
In the same program, he stated that the final of the next World Cup would be played in New York City/New Jersey. A match for the gold that will be an “epic” final and that “will unite the world”.
These statements came after FIFA revealed last Sunday, February 4, the match schedule for the tournament and he is sure that “New York and New Jersey are celebrating now” because they have won “the most important match in the history of soccer”.
He stressed that the final of the next World Cup, to be played on July 19, 2026, will be “epic”, “unique” and “will unite the world” because of the presence of 48 countries and because it will be hosted by two cities that bring together more than 200 nationalities.
Three countries with previous World Cup experience
Likewise, and referring to Mexico, he recalled that the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City, which will host the opening match, already hosted the final stages of the FIFA World Cup in 1970 and 1986, witnessing some of the most memorable matches in the history of soccer with Pele and Maradona as protagonists, respectively.
He also spoke of Canada’s experience in hosting FIFA events, such as the 2015 Women’s World Cup, and noted that the two host cities, Vancouver and Toronto, are both soccer cities, adding “I am very proud and happy that Canada will be part of this incredible World Cup.”