The Argentina icon believes Germany head into this summer’s World Cup as the best prepared team and is tipping the Bayern Munich playmaker to shine in Brazil
Diego Maradona is backing Germany to win this summer’s World Cup in Brazil and believes that, in Mario Gotze, they possess a player with “extraordinary talent”.
Joachim Low’s men have been drawn in a diffiult Group G alongside Portugal, Ghana and USA, and will begin their campaign against Cristiano Ronaldo and Co. in Salvador on June 16.
Expectation weighs heavily on Germany’s talented squad after semi-final failures against Spain and Italy in the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 respectively, and the loss of Marco Reus to injury has dealt their chances a significant blow.
No European team has ever won a World Cup on South American soil but Maradona believes Low’s men are well equipped – particularly with Gotze within their ranks.
“Germany is the most well prepared team,” he wrote in his column for the Times of India. “Though it is difficult for a European team to win in South America, yet the Germans have the talent.
“I shall never forget how they won their last World Cup in Italia 1990. And how can I forget how they had punched us in 2010! Joachim Low has a fantastic side, with the right blend of experience and youth.
“They can go the distance. By the way, watch out for Mario Gotze. The boy has extraordinary talent.”
Maradona also once again hit out at Fifa, this time calling football’s world governing body an “ugly power”.
The Argentina and Napoli icon recently accused the organisation of being corrupt amid allegations that officials received bribes to vote for Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup.
With Fifa confirming that the 2014 World Cup winning team will receive €26 million, Maradona has criticised the organisation for the amount of money they are set to make from the tournament in Brazil.
“It [Fifa] is an ugly power. If they win €3 billion with the World Cup and the champions take €26 [million], there is a difference that you cannot believe,” Maradona told Latin American TV station TeleSUR.
“Fifa is eating the ball. They are taking €3 billion without doing anything.”
Maradona captained Argentina to World Cup glory in 1986 and while the preparations for the tournament in Brazil have been marred by public protests, the 53-year-old believes the nation will put on a spectacle for the fans.
When asked about his vision for the World Cup, Maradona said: “From a distance, there are many strikes and things should have been done differently.
“That worries me although Brazil will host a great World Cup. But beware, do not forget about the people.”