Who is the greatest player of all-time?
It’s a discussion many football fans have had down the pub and, depending on your age, the answer may vary.
Before Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi dominated the sport, there were the likes of Pele, Diego Maradona and George Best.
Of course, comparing players that played in totally different generations isn’t easy.
But considering that Messi and Ronaldo have won five Ballon d’Ors each and often average more than a goal-per-game each season, it’s easy to see why fans believe these two are the greatest to have ever played the game.
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But it’s an argument that has got us thinking.
And, as a result, GIVEMESPORT have decided to rank footballing legends past and present into tiers from ‘GOAT’ to ‘Overrated.’
And here are the results (N.B – the players in the list were out of our control. If we had a choice, the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldinho and Thierry Henry would have been included).
GOAT: Lionel Messi
Legend: Cristiano Ronaldo, Diego Maradona, Ronaldo, Johan Cruyff, Marco van Basten, Garrincha
Great: Roberto Carlos, Kaka, Gianluigi Buffon, George Best, Paulo Maldini, Luis Figo, Fabio Cannavaro, Andrea Pirlo, Franz Beckenbauer, Franco Baresi
Good: Kylian Mbappe, Steven Gerrard, Arjen Robben, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Eden Hazard, Sergio Aguero, Filippo Inzaghi, David Beckham, Francesco Totti, Marc Overmars, Franck Ribery, Samuel Eto’o, Gabriel Batistuta, Andriy Shevchenko, Alessandro Nesta, Alessandro del Piero, Javier Zanetti, Luca Toni, Michel Platini
Overrated: Pele, Manuel Neuer, Harry Kane, Neymar, Michael Owen
We know what you’re thinking: ‘Pele overrated!?’
Hear us out.
The Brazilian has won three World Cups and *apparently* scored more than 1000 goals.
But 526 of his 1,283 goals were scored in friendlies. Officially, he scored 757 goals in 812 games.
As for his World Cup wins, he was injured for most of the 1962 tournament in which Garrincha single-handedly won it for his country.
He may have scored six goals during the 1958 tournament but failed to win the Golden Boot with Just Fontaine scoring 13.
While he scored just one goal in ’62 and 1966.
And in 1970, he scored four while team-mate Jairzinho bagged seven.
Meanwhile, hardly any of Pele’s career was captured on camera. Instead, animated videos have attempted to recreate goals he scored – to comical results.
And then there are his Brazilian teammates that helped his win everything there was to win.
Carlos Alberto, Djalma Santos, Nilton Santos, Rivelino, Garrincha, Vava, Didi, Gerson, Jairzinho, Gilmar, Tostao, Zito, Bellini and Zagallo all lifted Pele to great heights.
We’re not saying Pele was a fraud – he was still a world-class player.
But was he overrated? Quite possibly.