When it's 64: On Maracana's birthday, Zico praises Messi goal at stadium's second World Cup

The man who made Maracana Stadium his own has paid tribute to the sparkling World Cup goal by Lionel Messi that graced the iconic venue.

A day after the Argentine scored in the cathedral of Brazilian football, Zico applauded the strike on the 64th anniversary of the first match at Maracana.

"Maracana did deserve a goal like he scored," Zico said Monday.

A statue of the former Brazil and Flamengo great stands in Maracana to mark his 333 goals there.

Zico recalled the original Maracana, built for the 1950 World Cup, holding 177,000 fans including him when Flamengo played city rival Fluminense in 1963.

Today, the three-time World Cup player has the same affection for the revamped venue.

Zico says it's "more comfortable, a lot safer, more beautiful, more cozy."