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Pele picks between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi

Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi? Why not let one of the greatest sportsmen of all time decide? Pele has his say...

What’s the Story?

Edson Arantes de Nascimento, known to you and me as Pele, is often considered by many to be the greatest footballer of all time. So it is only natural that he gets asked the question: who is the greatest player currently... and the Brazilian's answer was almost immediate:

“No doubt. As I mentioned, I think today there’s no doubt the best player, the best scorer & the best forward is Cristiano Ronaldo" 

Well, that’s a pretty conclusive answer!

In case you didn’t know...

Pele’s record goal tally is something to marvel at, between 7 Sep 1956 to 1 Oct 1977 the great man played in 1,363 games and scored a quite astounding 1,279 goals – goals that ranged from the mundane to the utterly out-of-the-world. Here’s a collection of his best goals... because, why not?

Still boggles the mind doesn’t it, the man’s pure footballing talent?

The heart of the matter

Lionel Messi outscored Cristiano Ronaldo this season, 54 in 52 for the little Argentine as compared to 42 in 46 for the Portuguese but the latter’s goals came for a more successful season. Real Madrid swept the double winning the Champions League and La Liga with Ronaldo playing far less than usual (he didn’t play quite a few games against the minnows in Spain, games that would have otherwise buffeted his goal tally) but channelling his energy far better.

This was one of the most successful seasons ever for the 32-year-old – in addition to the league and European double he won the Club World Cup, and of course had started off the season winning the European Championships. 

Video

Here’s what Ronaldo was up to this season:

Not too shabby, eh?

Author’s take

The question is eternal and will continue being asked long after these two have hung up their boots, and each time you’ll get a different answer. This time too it’s no different, with Pele himself having earlier said that Messi is the best player in the world (at that time Barcelona were dominating the football world).  While Messi was arguably a touch better on a purely individually this season, it can not be argued that Cristiano Ronaldo was the more effective.

Nothing underlines this quite like their performances in the knock-out stage: during the group stages Messi was at 10 UCL goals, Ronaldo was at 2, by the end of the whole shebang, Messi was on 11 and Ronaldo on 12: his performances against Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid, and Juventus underlined just why he deserved the “best player in the world” tag that Pele has bestowed upon him.

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