Alfredo di Stefano's comments on Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo gave football fans of the current generation some much-needed perspective. The legendary footballer, who plied his trade for the national teams of Argentina and Spain over the course of his illustrious career, weighed in on the age-old debate and caused quite the stir with his comments.
Di Stefano sadly passed away in 2014 aged 88 as one of the greatest footballers of all time. Having seen Pele, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo play in their primes, the Argentine claimed (quotes via SportBible) that Pele was the superior players amongst the three.
"Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are both great players with specific qualities, but Pele was better."
"Lionel Messi is the more technical player of the two. He's better inside the area, the way he handles the ball and dribbles. You can see that he enjoys himself playing."
"Cristiano Ronaldo has a better body and is physically very strong. He has pace, speed and [is] a player with courage. Plus, he can finish with both legs."
Pele weighs in on the Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi debate
While Di Stefano chose Pele as the best player of all time, the Brazilian had his say on who the better player is between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in 2020.
"Today, the best player in the world is Cristiano Ronaldo. I think he's the best because he's more consistent, but you can't forget about Lionel Messi, of course, but he's not a striker."
"We cannot forget about Zico, Ronaldinho and Ronaldo. And in Europe, Franz Beckenbauer and Johan Cruyff. Now, it's not my fault, but I think Pele was better than them all."
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have dominated the modern era and won countless trophies between them. The pair have also won a combined 11 Ballon d'Or awards and could well add to that tally in the coming years.
Despite entering their 30s, they've shown no signs of slowing down and look set to carry on playing for many years to come.
Published 06 Jan 2021, 17:58 IST