Alfredo Di Stefano 'more complete' than Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona claims Pele

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Brazil legend Pele has insisted that Alfredo Di Stefano was 'more complete' than Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi.

Pele, who himself has gone down as one of the greatest ever players to have played the game, claims that players like Di Stefano are not as well known because of a lack of records. 

Di Stefano, who passed away following a heart attack on 7 July 2014, starred for the likes of River Plate and Real Madrid during a remarkable career between 1945 and 1966. 


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He played for Argentina, Colombia and Spain - yes, rules were different back then - but has never quite drawn as many plaudits as Messi and Maradona. 

Pele, though, claims that the aforementioned duo were no match for Di Stefano, but he has insisted that Messi has been the prince during his career. 

Pele speaks out 

"If I am the king, then Messi has been the prince over the past 15 years," Pele told La Vanguardia, per

"I cannot call him the king, because there is only one king. I believe that Alfredo Di Stefano was the most complete of the Argentine stars, he was more complete than [Diego] Maradona and Messi.

"I am glad that I played in my era, even if it's true everything is more simple now.

"Players like Di Stefano and I are not as well-known because there are far fewer recordings of our performances."

It's always hard to compare players from different eras, of course, but Di Stefano's influence in the game shouldn't be underestimated. 

Some of his achievements were truly remarkable: for so long, with 49 goals in 58 matches, he held the record as the highest scorer in the European Cup, while he remarkably netted in five consecutive European Cup finals for Real Madrid between 1956 and 1960.

He famously never played in a World Cup, but that hasn't stopped him becoming one of the most prestigious players to have ever played the game. 

Tim Vickery, writing for the BBC back in 2014, described Di Stefano as the most influential football of all-time and it's hard to disagree with him. 

Former England boss Fabio Capello, meanwhile, placed Di Stefano in the same bracket as Pele, Maradona and Messi. 

As per, the experienced coach stated: "You can talk about the best player in history, because football has had several different times and each player has excelled above the rest.

"First, it was Di Stefano, Pele, then later Maradona, and now Messi."

Do you agree with Pele's comments? Have your say below! 

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