Pele claims he would pick Cristiano Ronaldo over Lionel Messi

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It seems Pele can’t make up his mind whether he’s #TeamMessi or #TeamRonaldo.

The Brazilian legend, considered by many as the greatest footballer of all time, recently said that Lionel Messi is at the top of his list of all-time best players. He’s also described the Barcelona superstar as the best player of the last 10 years.

However, in an interview with Sportsmail this week, the 75-year-old insisted that Cristiano Ronaldo is currently the world’s best footballer.


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"At the moment the best player in the world is Ronaldo," Pele commented. "I admire him, if I had to set up a national team he would be my first pick.”

We’re not quite sure why Pele has had a sudden change of heart. Was it because of Ronaldo’s winning penalty in the recent Champions League final?

If it was, we can only presume the three-time World Cup winner didn’t watch the previous 120 minutes of action. Ronaldo, who wasn’t fully fit, produced one of his most disappointing performances for Los Blancos against local rivals Atletico Madrid at the San Siro.

Pele: There used to be more great players

Pele admits he feels a little saddened by the fact it’s only Ronaldo and Messi vying for the status of the ’world’s best player’- which has been the case for years now.

“George Best, Bobby Moore, Jairzinho, Bobby Charlton, Pele, Zico, Beckenbauer, Cruyff, Zidane, Maradona. Now you say Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi — Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi. It's not too good for football,” the former world-class striker continued.

"I feel sorry because today and the last five years, you just mention two big stars. Some years ago, you had a lot of players.

"You have [Gareth] Bale and Neymar, but they are not enough. You used to have two or three players in one team who were stars. Now there are that many in the world. It's a shame. The game deserves more great players."

Pele refused to draw comparisons

Pele, however, refused to draw comparisons between himself, Diego Maradona, Ronaldo and Messi, insisting their styles of play are different.

"Maradona, myself, it's a little bit different than him," he added. "Cristiano is higher up the pitch, more central, more direct, more for scoring. But what is important is he is a player who decides the game. He is a player who scores goals. That's the same.

"But we cannot compare Pele and Maradona with Cristiano because we were players who came from behind. We played deeper. He plays in front. He's more like [the Brazilian] Ronaldo. This you can compare.

"It's the same with Messi. They are two players with completely different styles. Messi is playing more from midfield, he is an excellent player and passer. But Ronaldo is more forward, the No 9, the striker. He has a different style to Messi."

Who would be YOUR first pick: Ronaldo or Messi? Have your say by leaving a comment below.

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La Liga
UEFA Champions League
Real Madrid
Cristiano Ronaldo
Lionel Messi

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