Football News

Ronaldo or Messi? Pele picks out the world’s best player “today”

By Harry Edwards

Published: 21:14, 26 March 2020

Brazilian legend Pele has named Cristiano Ronaldo as the best player in the world today, ahead of Lionel Messi.

The past decade in football has been dominated by Ronaldo and Messi, with the pair enjoying both team and individual success. Since 2008, only Luka Modric has managed to break the pair’s duopoly of the Ballon d’Or, with Ronaldo winning five to Messi’s six – the latest coming in 2019.

Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi: Five things to know…

  • Lionel Messi won the Ballon d’Or for the sixth time December.
  • It moved him one ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo, continuing their rivalry.
  • Many consider either Messi or Ronaldo to be the best player in the world.
  • Opinions are often split down the middle between the pair.
  • And Pele believes Ronaldo has the edge.

As a result of their dominance, both Ronaldo and Messi have been spoken about as being the best player in football both today and in history. While many appreciate both, there has also been a split among certain fan groups who look to play down one player’s achievements in favour of the other – bringing Messi vs Ronaldo to a new level.

Fans of Barcelona will almost always pick Messi, loyal to the club’s greatest ever player, while others faithful to Real Madrid, Manchester United and Juventus remain behind Ronaldo.

But it’s not just fans being brought into the discussion. Players past and present, as well as managers, have also given their opinions over the years on who comes out on top in a head-to-head between Ronaldo and Messi. And Pele, widely regarded as one of the best footballers of all time, has added his say.

Speaking to YouTube channel Pilhado, the three-time World Cup winner revealed his reasoning for picking Ronaldo ahead of Messi and everyone else.

“Today the best player in the world is Cristiano Ronaldo,” Pele said.

“I think he’s the best, because he’s more consistent, but you can’t forget about Messi, of course, but he’s not a striker.”

In all competitions for Juventus this season, Ronaldo has managed 25 goals in 32 games, including 21 in Serie A to help Maurizio Sarri’s team lead the table. Messi is just one behind with 24 goals in 31 games across all competitions, 19 of which have come in La Liga.

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Pele names himself as the best player in history

As well as being talked about as the best players today, many consider Ronaldo and Messi to be the best in history. When these discussions are had, Ronaldo and Messi are often compared to former greats such as Diego Maradona and Pele.

And Pele believes he still comes above the rest.

“It is a question that is difficult to answer,” he added.

“We cannot forget about Zico, Ronaldinho and Ronaldo. And in Europe, Franz Beckenbauer and Johan Cruyff.

“Now, it’s not my fault, but I think Pele was better than them all.”


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