Young football fans growing up in the 2000s and the current decade have been spoilt.
Not only have they been able to watch every minute played by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, two of the greatest footballers of all time, but they’ve also witnessed the very best of a host of other footballing heroes.
Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Kaka, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Thierry Henry, Luis Suarez, Neymar - the list goes on and on.
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But who does Pele, the man many consider as the greatest footballer in history, regard as the best player of the past 10-15 years?
Well, the Brazilian icon revealed his thoughts in, of all places, Glasgow on Friday night.
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Pele: Messi is the best player of the last 15 years
The 75-year-old has been quoted as saying that he believes Messi is the world’s best one minute and Ronaldo the next on numerous occasions, but he says it’s the Barcelona superstar who has been the most consistent player over the past 10-15 years.
"I could mention some names but, what has happened in the last 10 to 15 years, I think Messi is the player who was the most consistent all those years, no doubt,” Pele said, per Sky Sports.
"We have had a lot of good players. Then Cristiano Ronaldo (of Real Madrid) came late but it is different because Messi is the more organised, he scores goals.
"Cristiano Ronaldo is like the Ronaldo from Brazil. He is a good scorer, no doubt, but to me as a player it is Messi."
Pele isn't wrong about this
With five Ballon d’Or awards to his name, there’s no doubt that Messi has been the most consistently excellent player over that period of time.
As well as his individual accolades, the Argentina international has also won a host of major honours with his club, including eight La Liga titles, three Copa del Rey, three Club World Cups and four Champions Leagues.
However, Messi is yet to win a major title with his country - with the exception of a gold medal secured at the 2008 Olympics.
The 29-year-old has come agonisingly close over recent years - he suffered gut-wrenching defeats in the 2015 and 2016 Copa America finals, as well as the 2014 World Cup final - but this lack of success at international level has, in the eyes of some, left a question mark by the world-class forward.
Not in Pele’s mind, though.
The three-time World Cup winner believes Messi has been in a league of his own since bursting onto the scene in 2005.
Is Lionel Messi the best player of the past 10-15 years? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
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