What’s the story?
The debate over which player is the greatest of all time (GOAT) is about to rear its head once again. Brazil legend Pele has said that there are as many as three players better than Lionel Messi, surprising a lot of people in the football world.
In case you didn’t know…
Pele’s name and achievements in football are well documented, with the 78-year-old being the only player to have won the FIFA World Cup three times.
Moreover, Pele ended his over two decade-long career with a record of 1281 goals in 1363 games for both club and country. Because of such incredible numbers, the legendary forward is rated as one of the greatest men to have ever played the game, despite the fact that he never competed in Europe.
In recent times, Messi has also had his name mentioned when it comes to the greatest players of all time. In fact, many regard the Argentine as the greatest player to have ever played football.
The heart of the matter
Pele, however, believes it is wrong to compare Messi to him, describing the Barcelona captain as a player who has just “one skill”.
"How can you make a comparison between a guy who heads the ball well, shoots with the left, shoots with the right and another who only shoots with one leg, only has one skill and doesn’t head the ball well?" Pele toldd Folha de Sao Paulo.
"How can you compare? To compare with Pele, it has to be someone who shoots well with the left, shoots well with the right, and scores headers," Pele added.
The Brazil legend went on to name three players who he believes are better than Messi. According to him, Diego Maradona, Franz Beckenbauer and Johan Cruyff are all ahead of the Barca star in terms of talent and accomplishments.
Pele said: "As far as I’m concerned, Maradona was one of the best players ever. If you ask me, 'Was he better than Messi?' Yes, he was. Much better.
“[Franz] Beckenbauer, [Johan] Cruyff were also excellent players.”
There is no specific rule to determine who the greatest player of all time is and, as such, football fans in every generation will have their own picks.
However, Pele’s comments are definitely bound to spark further debate on this topic for the next couple of weeks.Published 07 Dec 2018, 01:12 IST