Brazilian legend Pele has made a huge statement about Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona. The former Santos player has rated Real Madrid's Alfredo DI Stefano the best Argentine player of all time.
Stefano was one of the best players around during his time. The striker played 282 matches for Real Madrid scoring 261 goals. Stefano won the Spanish league title 8 times and the European Cup 5 times while at Los Blancos.
Lionel Messi is considered by many as one of the greatest players of all time, with some proclaiming there has been no one better but Pele thinks otherwise. The man himself is considered the most complete footballer to have played the game and earned the nickname the King.
Speaking to La Vanguardia. he said, “If I am the king, then Messi has been the prince over the past 15 years. "I cannot call him the king, because there is only one king. I believe that Alfredo Di Stefano was the most complete of the Argentine stars, he was more complete than [Diego] Maradona and Messi.”
Messi has won the Ballon d’ Or 5 times, the Champions League thrice and 8 La Liga titles with his latest one coming yesterday after Barcelona defeated Granada. But Pele clearly believes Stefano was a better player.
Diego Maradona and Pele have had several arguments over the years and they have also divided football fans across the world. The two players defined the decades they played in and both have achieved massive success both domestically and internationally.
The World Cup is probably the only silverware missing from Messi’s repertoire. He came close in 2014 but an extra time Mario Goetze goal ended his hopes of lifting the trophy. He once again found himself on the losing side last year when Chile beat Argentina in the Copa America final.
Pele also talked about the level of competition and the way the game has changed over the years. "I am glad that I played in my era, even if it's true everything is more simple now. Players like Di Stefano and I are not as well-known because there are far fewer recordings of our performances.”