Pele 'named' Ronaldo, Messi & Maradona among 12 greatest footballers ever

Pele 'named' the 12 greatest players in football history back in 2020. Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona and Alfredo Di Stefano all made his list.

Pele enjoyed a quite extraordinary 21-year career as a professional footballer.

He made his debut for Santos at the age of just 15 and, a year later, he made his debut for Brazil and became their youngest goalscorer ever, a record that still stands today.

Pele went on to play 92 times for his country, scoring 77 goals and helping them to three World Cup titles (1958, 1970 and 1974).

He also scored 1,279 goals in 1,363 games (including friendlies), before retiring from the game in 1977.

Pele is considered one of the greatest players of all-time, but who does he think are the best players to ever play the sport?

That was a question given to him by MadridistaReal back in 2020.

He replied: “Another difficult question. There will be more than 10 in my time alone. I’ll leave some to answer your question (laughs). Diego [Maradona], Alfredo [Di Stéfano], [Giovanni] Trapattoni, Garrincha, [Johan] Cruyff, [Franz] Beckenbauer, [Carlos] Alberto… [Zinedine] Zidane… Ronaldo [Nazario]… [Andres] Iniesta.”

Pele 'named' the 12 greatest players in football history back in 2020. Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona and Alfredo Di Stefano all made his list.
10th September 1964: Argentinian born Spanish footballer Alfredo Di Stefano makes his first appearance for Espanol of Barcelona against Olympique of Lyon. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)

Pele then added two massive names to his list, as well as an up-and-coming star

“Today we are lucky. Cristiano [Ronaldo] is great. [Lionel] Messi is incredible. The future looks bright for [Kylian] Mbappé,” he added.

Pele then expanded on his selection of Real Madrid legend, Di Stefano.

He said: “Alfredo could well have been the most complete player of the era. He was fantastic. It’s a pity that there aren’t enough videos of his performances, no doubt he would be more popular. Without a doubt, it is one of the standards in what is considered the best.”

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Pele also declared his countryman, Ronaldo Nazario, was the greatest number nine ever.

He said: “‘The Phenomenon’”, his nickname says it all. Ronaldo could well be the best ‘9’ of all time. He was amazing. The size, the speed, the skill, everything fluid. I haven’t seen that combination since.”

Ronaldo Nazario quiz: How much do you know about the Brazilian legend?

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Ronaldo Nazario in action for Brazil

What is Ronaldo’s full name?

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