Pele has revealed who is 'the best' out of Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi - and why

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The debate over Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will define this generation of football as just about everyone holds into their reason for believing one is better than the other.

They have dominated football like no one before them, at least at club level, all while playing at opposite sides in one of the game's fiercest rivalries.

While Messi began his professional career with Barcelona, Ronaldo joined Real Madrid in 2009 - virtually in answer to the brilliance of the Argentinian the previous year.

The debate has continued to gather pace ever since, even if both players have long maintained that the ferocity of the rivalry has been exaggerated by everyone else.

Regardless of their feelings on a personal level, professionally it has been about the two of them for a while. Six European Cups and eight La Liga titles have been shared between Barcelona and Real Madrid since 2009, but it's individually that they stand out ahead of the rest.

They have dominated the Ballon d'Or in a way that was inconceivable before they arrived on the scene.

The two sit on five wins each - quite a stunning haul considering the previous record was three, held by Michel Platini, Johan Cruyff, and Marco van Basten - and Kaka remains the last player to win the award since Ronaldo's first a decade ago.

It has led to everyone who has watched or played the game to pick a side, with the latest being arguably the greatest of them all: Pelé.

"Messi's been the most stable in the last 10 years," the Brazilian said to SporTv. "As for Cristiano Ronaldo, he's a great goalscorer.

"Ronaldo's been able to score goals, while you see Messi creating goals and directing the play, as well as scoring.

"Ronaldo's a great goalscorer but in terms of the complete player, there's no doubt that Messi is the best."

They're certainly not ideas unique to the legendary Brazilian, but they, of course, hold extra weight when coming from someone with a level of experience that is arguably unmatched in the game.

Real Madrid v Sevilla - La Liga

Ronaldo's all-around game doesn't stack up against Messi's when the stats are looked at. The Argentine somehow competes at the top of both the goal and assist charts in all of Europe in a way that no one has ever managed before, regularly demonstrating that he is simultaneously one of the greatest goalscorers and playmakers ever.

But then Ronaldo can claim to be the ultimate goalscorer, holding onto the best goals-to-games ratio in the history of La Liga.

Most importantly, however, is that Ronaldo has led his team to the Champions League in three of the last four seasons, on top of lifting the EURO 2016 trophy with Portugal. Messi may have the better all-around game, but he's still got some catching up to do in 2018.

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Ballon d'Or
Real Madrid
La Liga
Cristiano Ronaldo
Lionel Messi

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