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Pele, Best, Maradona or Cristiano Ronaldo? How does CR rank with the best?

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Comparisons can be a pain in the backside. My dad says that nobody was ever better than Tom Finney or Puskas, my older brother says George Best and Pele have no equals, I believe Maradona to be the best ever and my son says that Cristiano Ronaldo has more than the lot of them put together.

It has always been this way. We always think that the top players of ‘our generation’ are the best of all time. It is impossible to compare these great players because they are all from a different place and time. Of course George Best wouldn’t be as quick, as fit or strong enough to play in today’s Premiership and Ronaldo would have been even more of a phenomenon than he is now if you transported him back thirty or forty years.

You can only judge them by how good they were amongst their contemporaries. It is no good listening to anecdotal evidence because the fans of each player will only tell you why their particular favourite is the best of all time. The only way to judge this fairly is to look at the facts and figures. So let’s do it:

Pele

pele Pele, Best, Maradona or Cristiano Ronaldo? How does CR rank with the best?Santos 1956-1974

Domestic League games – 605
Domestic League goals – 589

International Club games – 18
International Club goals – 24

Best scoring season – 47 in 40 games 1959

International caps (Brazil) – 92
International goals – 77

Honours
3 World Cup winners medals. (Didn’t play in 1962 final through injury but was awarded a medal some years later)
19 Domestic club honours.
Named footballer of the century by FIFA. (Voted for by panel of experts. Maradona won an online public poll)
Named athlete of the century by the International Olympic Committee.


Pele’s brilliance

George Best

george best Pele, Best, Maradona or Cristiano Ronaldo? How does CR rank with the best?Manchester United 1963-1974

Domestic League games – 361
Domestic League goals – 137

International Club games – 34
International Club goals – 11

Best scoring season – 32 in 52 games 1968

International caps (N Ireland) – 37
International goals – 9

Honours
European Cup winner.
2 Domestic club honours.
European Footballer of the Year.
Football Writers Player of the Year.
English football Hall of Fame.


George Best’s brilliance

Diego Maradona

diego maradona Pele, Best, Maradona or Cristiano Ronaldo? How does CR rank with the best?Boca Juniors, Barcelona, Napoli 1981-1991

Domestic League games – 357
Domestic League goals – 181

International Club games – 32
International Club goals – 13

Best scoring season – 21 in 39 games 1988

International caps (Argentina) – 91
International goals – 34

Honours
World Cup winner
UEFA Cup winner
8 Domestic club honours
World Player of the Year
Named footballer of the century by an online poll. (Pele won the award as given by a panel of experts)
South American Footballer of the Year x 5


Diego Maradona’s brilliance

Cristiano Ronaldo

cristiano ronaldo Pele, Best, Maradona or Cristiano Ronaldo? How does CR rank with the best?Manchester United 2003 – present

Domestic League games – 157
Domestic League goals – 61

International Club games – 43
International Club goals – 11

Best scoring season – 36 in 39 games 2008 so far

International caps (Portugal) – 54
International goals – 20

Honours
3 Domestic Club honours
Selected in FIFpro World XI
Selected in UEFA Team of the Year x 2
UEFA 2004 Team of the tournament
PFA Young Player of the Year x 2
PFA Footballer of the Year
Portuguese Footballer of the Year


Cristiano Ronaldo’s brilliance

So there we have the stats. What do we make of them? If you need some more help let’s look at what other people think of them and in some cases, what they think of themselves.

“Comparing Paul Gascoigne to Pele is like comparing Rolf Harris to Rembrandt” — Rodney Marsh.
“For 20 years they have been asking me the same question, who is the greatest? Maradona or Pele? I reply that all you have to do is look at the facts – how many goals did he score with his right foot or with his head?” – Pele

“George Best was able to use either foot. Sometimes he seemed to have six of them” – Sir Matt Busby
“Maradona good, Pele better, George Best” – Famous Irish saying

“I worked hard all my life for this. Those who say I don’t deserve anything, that it all came easy, can kiss my arse.” — Maradona
“Maradona is our maximum term of reference. No one embodies our essence better. No one bears our emblem more nobly. To no other, in the last twenty years, have we offered up so much passion. Argentina is Maradona, Maradona is Argentina.” – Argentinian psychologist

“Everyone went crazy over Wayne Rooney, but I get more excited by Cristiano Ronaldo.” -George Best
“There have been a few players described as the new George Best over the years, but this is the first time it’s been a compliment to me.” -George Best on Cristiano Ronaldo

So there we have it. It’s decision time. Does Cristiano Ronaldo deserve to be in this company yet? Could any of the other three score the goal that Ronaldo scored against Roma last night? Pele maybe. So if these are the greatest ever, what order do they go in?

I’ll go first and give my reasons:

1. Pele – a) 3 World Cup winners medals b) Scoring record c) Apart from Viagra, no drugs as far as we know d) He says he was better than Maradona

2. Diego Maradona – a) Won a World Cup almost single-handedly b) Talent and attitude, i.e. Kiss my arse c) Just too many drugs

3. Cristiano Ronaldo – a) Already performed at European and World Cups b) George Best said he is better than he was c) Hasn’t quite got the longevity yet

4. George Best – a) Wonderful player but Ronaldo has beaten his record b) Not his fault to be born in Northern Ireland but no major International success c) Too much booze.

Over to you.

Graham Fisher writes at Views of a fan.

Comments (127)

  1. I agree with the article’s basis — that players can only fairly be compared to their contemporaries and from their achievements and stats. And on this basis I agree with Graham’s rankings.

    However, I think ranking Ronaldo and Best up there with Pele and Maradona is a stretch. I believe international success is a requisite for athletic greatness, and Ronaldo and Best do not have those honours (yet).

    As an aside, I think George Best is more a British celebrity than a global one. I live in Canada and it’s fair to say that everyone in the football community here knows who Pele, Maradona, and Ronaldo are, but very few have even heard of Best.

  2. cr7 is the greatest player ever. His physical attributes, skill and awareness is far beyond any of those three players mentioned. Not to mention he’s going up against far greater athletes than those guys faced in their careers! pele played in 1 league his whole career!! best didnt have the quickness or strength to do wat he did in the EPL today. Maradona was a genius with the ball, and i actually think he would be a great player today but not 30+ goals and in the fashion that cr7 has produced his.

  3. How can you compare statistics? Pele played in the Brazilian league all his life and arguably it is a pretty shit league. Best played 50 years ago when the game was much more open, Maradona would never match Ronaldo in today’s game and none of them can hold a stick to Johan Cruijff.

    The point is that, like you say, everybody has different perceptions as to who is the best player ever because everyone expects different things from a player. You are comparing goals, but by doing that you automatically discout Beckenbauer, Maldini and Yashin. You are comparing honours, but then what about players that were not fortunate enough to play on winning teams all their lives – look at Gerrard or Ronaldo (Brazilian dude).

    I think you are doing the right thing by comparing somewhat similar players, but you cannot attampt to say that any one player is the best in the world or the best of all time, because each and everyone of them brings something different to football and they are all equally important.

    Sorry to be in such utter disagreement with your piece – in which I think you put quite a bit of work – especially since I am a big fan of your articles.

  4. Well, I must say that of all the videos the one with Ronaldo certainly is the worst, but thats because you dont see any of his goals. WHY??? He scores wonderful goals, why only the stepovers which is something he use less and less. Ronaldo play is much much more direct than the other guys and it needs to be because of the speed and moemntum of todays game. You dont have time to let your opponent get up so you can beat him twice. They just cant be compared. If he continues to go like he does now with 36 goals and may games left, he is certainly the best right now. To be the best of all time, he have to keep this going for some more time!

  5. To be honest since nobody has seen Best, Maradonna or Pele play week in week out its too difficult to definitively say who is the best. Also, more importantly, Ronaldo is barely in the middle of his career and really should not be considered. Right now he’s what, 23? of course he won’t have accomplished as much as the others, hes not even widely considered the best in the world at the moment so I think as great as he is he shouldn’t really be included in the debate, yet.

  6. cr7 the best player ever that people saw.he has everything,skills,fast,scorer,hesders,shooting,dribbling,stamina,everything that you want from a player.pele is a good scorer but that years of football that he play 1956 to 1974 there are no good players in defence but ronaldo has many good players and defenders in front of him.pele scorers more goals than ronaldo but pele is a striker and ronaldo is a midfielder.cr7 the best player ever.1 ronaldo 2 pele 3 maradona 4 best

  7. A while back, we were wondering whether Ronaldinho would be considered as good as Pele and Maradonna. Funny how things change.

  8. Andrei:

    but you cannot attampt to say that any one player is the best in the world or the best of all time

    I think telling someone they can’t do something because it’s impossible to get to the answer is the worst possible argument.

    Ipanema Bob:

    I thought the exact same thing when I was editing it – Ronaldinho, Kaka, and now Ronaldo.

    Graham:

    Good stuff, I’d just change one or two things:

    Not bring personal life in it – has bearing on whether they make performances better or worse (unless you want to argue that Maradona and Best were great despite their disabilities, and thus rate them higher).

    Weight the difficulties of the leagues they played in. Pele would suffer on this on a domestic level – Best not so much on the international because a) it’s not his fault he was playing for a crap team and b) Maradona and Pele both had solid squads supporting them.

    Ronaldo was the best young player in Germany 2006 (Podolski was the politically correct choice, a joke considering their actual performances). Portugal got to the semis, which is no mean achievement, and the fact that they even had a glimmer of a chance against France then was due to Ronaldo – and he wasn’t the goalscoring machine we know today.

    Euro 2008 will be a big test – let’s see how he does for his country.

  9. One more thing.

    I should probably write an article on this…

    There’s a tendency to paint people in black and white roles – it makes for far more powerful story-telling.

    It’s hard to think of Bush as a humanitarian or even a decent person when he has been caricaturised to death as an idiot / evil despot.

    Pele is the great white horse of football – we conveniently ignore that he played in an inferior league (would you call a Dutch player who played for Ajax all his life and scored a goal a game the best player in the world?) and that he’s not that good at analysing the game. His contributions are highlighted and those of his teammates are dwarfed.

    As an example of that, consider the adulation Ronaldo is receiving at the moment. He wouldn’t be scoring 30+ goals if it wasn’t for Rooney’s work-rate or the solid defending of Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra and Brown, or the creative midfield work of Carrick and Scholes.

    Yet as the goal-scorer, Ronaldo gets the most credit (he deserves a lot of it, but not all of it). And this is while it’s happening in front of our eyes. 10 years down the line, all we’ll have are numbers – goals scored being the most important number of them all, and Ronny will be considered a legend at the expense of those whose hard work helped him to those milestones.

    It is the same with all great players.

    The second aspect – what I alluded to earlier before I drifted off to historical distortion – is how we pigeon-hole players when telling stories about them. Steven Gerrard is often talked of as a lion – a fearless warrior and leader for whom nothing is impossible. We conveniently forget him caught on TV calling the ref names, or him diving, or him advocating xenophobic violence to his young English teammate (what a great influence).

    Gerrard is a very good player, but he’s been built up to a god and all the warts have been conveniently ignored because they don’t fit the profile.

    The same happened with Pele. The same has happened with Kaka in the past.

    It’s happening in the other direction with Maradona, Ronaldo and Ronaldinho. Their negative attributes (drug abuse, diving, sex-addiction) are trumpeted when they more often than not have nothing to do with the footballing achievements of the players themselves.

    As an individual, Maradona has serious problems. As a footballer, the man is a legend who could do the impossible with a football, and did it with a single-mindedness that’s matched by very few. I don’t know if Pele was that dogged in his play. I know Ronny has it but the flash invariably distracts from it.

    It’s that single-mindedness that produces consistent runs of form. Kaka, Ronaldinho, they both got mentally tired of it at the end. Same happened to Henry. The same will happen to Ronny, unfortunately.

    But let’s not paint each player in absolutes. They are more … or sometimes less … than that.

    As for players needing to set examples – it’s as much a matter of the filters between us and football (tv commentators, press) who need to tell us the truth (Gerrard is tackled, Ronny dives, Torres is tackled, Drogba dives, and so on) as it is of parents setting the right examples. Don’t blame it all on footballers, unless you’re saying parenting and the biases of who tells us the stories about footballers (media) counts for shit these days…

  10. Those players are the best in their Era. There is no one player who is the best of all time. The game change from time to time.

    No doubt about it that Ronaldo is the best player in the 21st century but Maradono is also the best in his era. :)

  11. I think its a vain attempt to compare them.
    1. Graham,you’ve left out some other greats like Puskas, Cruyff.
    2. I wonder why these “greats” never include defenders.
    3. Although being a huge United fan myself, i think its too premature to call ronaldo a great. Its been almost 2 seasons and he need to prove himself in international tournaments and over a longer period of time.

  12. Graham, I am a United fan and I still cannot say Ronaldo is the best player in the world of all time. I thought Ronaldinho was unstoppable before recent seasons showed that he was still human. For me the greatest player of the 90s had to be Zidane. It amazes me how people just ignore what he’s achieved over the course of his career, he won every conceivable trophy, delivered on the biggest stages, maintained the same level of consistency (not to mention his rather low profile personal life) — and had he not lost his head in the final (no pun intended) we might not even be having this argument. Or at least we might have included him in this list.

    Ronaldo is by far the best player of this season, but we’ll leave it at that. He’s just 23 and has a lot left to achieve before he’s spoken in the same breath of some others. At the moment, all we are doing is falling into the vortex of the media hype machine — a vortex of superlatives, that’s all.

    Or maybe I am not good with this player ratings business. :)

  13. you’re wrong if think pele played in an inferior domestic league compared to other players at the time…just imagine if every brazilian playing today went home and played in their national league, it’d be among the most talent laden in the world alongside england italy and spain. you can say the style of play was more open and free but not inferior. just look at pele’s team mates from the brazilian national teams back then, you say he had alot of help playing alongside legendary great players and he did, and I believe they all spent most of their club careers playing in brasil back then.

    pele-maradona
    cruyff
    ronaldo{with the bad smile}
    zidane

    that’s it…until ronaldo or messi can carry a team in the world cup the way these players did and perform at a level above and beyond their peers for the better part of a career then it’s really premature to compare them with such players.

  14. This is a tricky question to tackle. For one, how do you even compare them? Statistics? Votes? At the end of the day, it is all about personal taste and preference isn’t it?

    For me, Ronaldo has a long way to go. For me, a great has to perform on the world stage and Ronaldo has yet to perform in the same way Zidane, Maradona and Pele did at the World Cup.

  15. Ahmed –

    In terms of negative attributes, you’re comparing diving along with drug abuse & sex addiction?

    Wtf???

  16. I’m talking about removing the impact negative attributes have on our rating of the players. Context mate, context.

  17. And diving is the worst negative attribute you could come up with for Ronaldo?

    Interesting…

  18. I’m just kidding anyway…

    I vote for Maradona with a close second from Pele followed by Best & then Ronaldo. Hear me out.

    I won’t go over all the arguments in the article or above. Most of them are valid. What i’m talking about is the most complete player out of all of them.

    I’m gonna post something about this in the forum. I have a lot of thoughts about this…If anyone’s interested then keep a look out for the title, ‘Maradona vs Pele: who was the most complete player?’

  19. If you would take goals and statistics alone, Ferenc Puskas must have been top of the heap??

    Ferenc Puskas Real Madrid career that took home 3 European Cup Winners Cup Title and a fledging career that almost equalled one goal a game over his ENTIRE playing career. His record is better statistically than Pele. He did not win the world cup based solely on “the miracle of Bern” and a VERY strong west germany side. Shouldn’t he be given a fair shout? It should also be noted he revolutionize the role that Pele and Maradona excelled in. The only reason he is given any credit is the fact that there isn’t much video evidence on the great man who is named the 20th Century top goalscorer in front on Pele.

    The fact of the matter is that to name the greatest player of time is impossible entirely. It is like in basketball where Michael Jackson is named top of the heap and the media gives him the hype and discounting players like Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain and Larry Bird.

    Besides that, it must be duly noted that the technology advancement and football law changes of the later years which would have aided the later generations. And the techniques that have been discovered earlier that aided their sontemporaries.

    Finally, if we were to name the greatest player of all time, Beckenbaur and Cyruff must be given a shout as well. The libero extrodinaire that famously stayed on with a broken shoulder and the cornerstone of much of Bayern and German success is probably the prime example goalscorers get all the credit. How about Cyruff, the total footballer, the most complete player of all time. I doubt Pele, Maradona, Best of Ronaldo knows how to tackle for the sake of their lives!!!

  20. would you call a Dutch player who played for Ajax all his life and scored a goal a game the best player in the world?

    Cruijff took Ajax to three consecutive European Cups.

    “but you cannot attampt to say that any one player is the best in the world or the best of all time”

    telling someone they can’t do something because it’s impossible to get to the answer is the worst possible argument.

    I think you are misquoting here:

    but you cannot attampt to say that any one player is the best in the world or the best of all time, because each and everyone of them brings something different to football and they are all equally important.

    Sorry mate, I just don’t like to be misquoted… what I meant by that statement is that some players like Cruijff are/were overall very good, while some like Zidane are/were fantastic at whatever they do, but pretty average everywhere else. You will have a hard time comparing these two players as far aa ability goes. It is like deciding on your favorite song: you might think you have a clear favorite, but then you hear another one and now you are in doubt (you can hardly compare Betthoven’s ninth with Stairway to Heaven, I’ll bet)

    Besides that, would you not be upset if the world’s top player is found taking illegal substances? Suppose Mutu scored 40 Premier League goals in his only season at Chelsea, would he be considered a fine talent given that he took cocaine? It is the same for Maradona. He was good, but how do you know that it was not a mirage created by artificially increaesed amounts of testhostorone? I think drug use has to be included in the list while judging great player and on-pitch antics too. You would not want your role model to break people’s faces during football matches, now would you?

  21. Chef barca re: strength of the brazilian league…

    Very very good point. Before the mid 1980′s (maybe the 1982 team was the turning point) most of the players in Brazilian World Cup squads played in their own domestic league – its not like today when the best players are taken by european clubs sometimes aged 18 or 19.

    It wasn’t only Pele; Gerson, Rivelino, Tostao, Carlos Alberto and Garrincha never left Brazil to play for European clubs, Jairzinho only played 1 seasn for Marseilles in the mid 70′s and spent the rest of his career in Brazil.

    And the record of the South American clubs in the intercontinental cups against the European teams doesnt indicate a weak league, let alone a shitty one.

    Back to who is the best of all time? Who knows how to compare Maradona and more recent players against older players when film footage of Pele/Puskas/Garrincha/Di Stefano etc is so sparse. I do think Cristiano Ronaldo is the best in the world RIGHT NOW, but i think he, Kaka and Messi are of a similar level and if he stays injury free, I think Messi is good enough to have people say the same of him next year.

  22. How the hell can you be mentioning C.ronaldos name in the same breath as PELE and MARADONA???

    Talk about media hype. Mr Graham fisher if you got nothing better to do that is not our problem, please do not write rubbish articles, to even suggest that c.ronaldo is in the league of a maradona is just plain rubbish!!

    Maradona and Pele have won world cups…what has c.ronaldo won???? In fact he is not even the best player in the world today. A fully fit Ronaldinho or a fully fit Messi are far greater than him. Kaka in form is also greater.

    C.ronaldo is not even the best ronaldo. the orginal ronaldo was far greater at his peak. Orginal Ronaldo at 21 twice won world player of the year awards.

    In europe, c.ronaldo is not even fit to do the laces of Zinedine Zidane who has been the greastet european player.

    C.ronaldo will not make my top 30 ever. Greatness is measured in trophies and talent against the best. But more importantly dominating a major tournament like a World Cup or a Euro Championships.

    The day he dominates a world cup and actually wins it then he can be mentioned in the same breath as tthe greats from the past.

  23. nice article i would say it is worth reading, interesting facts, pele is the best, ronaldo on his way thou

  24. I’m glad to have caused so much discussion. It is never going to be possible to name one player who is the best of all time.

    Everyone will have their favourites and there are many candidates I haven’t mentioned.

    Back in the sixties and seventies Watford had a tricky winger called Stewart Scullion Some of the people in the USA might remember him because I think he went to play for the Cosmos at the same time as Pele.

    Now he really WAS a player!

  25. quick question… where the fuck is Zidane? Surely he ranks amongst these guys… and to be honest I never heard of Best until he died. Then I realized that he was some celebrated Manu player who never made it into the international level. Some players that are a better choice than Best – Johan Cruyff, Platini, Beckenbauer… to name a few. Of course these players are no where near as universal as Maradona or Pele and therefore neither is Best.

  26. how can you have this discussion/comparison without including the real Ronaldo, the real phenomenen?? Cristiano Ronaldo does not even compare to the real Ronaldo at his best, and in his injury pleagued career Ronaldo has achieved more than CR will ever achieve.

  27. Graham,

    Can you name off the ALL-Time 11 ? That could possibly lend credit to those who request Total Football. Maybe even give honorable mention to those who just fall short. I also think it may be a little premature to jump on Ronaldo, seeing that he is having his first ‘Great’ Season. Over the span of 5 years, he isn’t the best player.

  28. Personally, if Cristiano Ronaldo gets the nod, I would like to see a few more names in the mix….

    Bergkamp, Henry, Ronaldo, Baggio, Amancio, Figo, Zidane, Rivaldo, Cruyff, and van Basten.

    The list seems to be comprised of attackers, and notably, goals scored should be as important as possession and assists.

  29. Actually this article is about CR, so why not compare him with Manu legends instead of pele, maradona cause they are in a class of their own. You can compare CR with Cantona, Bobby Charlton etc etc. I wouldn’t know much about MU legends since I’m not a fan

  30. It doesn’t matter what league Pele played in. His scoring record defied belief AND HE WON 3 WORLD CUPS.

    I see where the argument comes from, because it’s like Samaras going to the SPL and scoring loads, but you HAVE to be class to make the step up to INTERNATIONAL football REGARDLESS of what league you play in.

  31. I’m a young, passionate United fan and a huge admirer of Ronaldo but still I am forced to cry HOLD YOUR F***ING HORSES!!! Any talk of Ronaldo in comparison to Maradona and Pele is extremely premature. If he continues to produce as he has in the current season over the next decade, and wins a number of big titles in the process (World Cup, Champions League etc.) only then will such comparisons be valid. To make them now belittles the concept of becoming an elite football legend. As for Best, that comparison seems the most apt at present because Best was a player whose enormous talent wasn’t adequately reflected in his trophy haul. Hopefully that is something which Ronaldo can change throughout the rest of his career. Then we will see about Maradona and Pele.

  32. Your ignorance of what Best has done is no excuse for him not being on this list. Next thing you’ll tell me is that because you never saw Ruud score 44 goals in a single season, he mustn’t have done it!

    Ruud for greatest Premier League striker ever! :)

  33. People’s ignorance of Best not achieving anything in the international level is justified, even though Portugal’s chances of winning the World Cup will always be better than of the Irish, it is still very slim. 40 years down the road, when the name Ronaldo will pop up, people’s imagination will be that of a bald fat brazilian and not some portugese winger.

  34. Sigh, only Manu fans have the audacity to compare their players with the game’s top 2. What next? Liverpool fans might chip in Steven Gerard and they may claim well we have won more trophies than Manu so we have the right to compare our best against the greatest. Stop there, this whole article is stupid because:

    What you people need to understand is out of the 6 billion people alive at least 5 billion knows either Pele or Maradona or both and no other. No footballer in the near future will not gain that amount of popularity as they did unless of course someone manages to win 3-4 World Cup titles one after another.

    Point is – Pele & Maradona have already gained immortality whist the other “best” players during their time slowly faded away. Chances of another player gaining immortality is 1:kazillion.

    There is no point in comparing their abilities because regardless of the similiarities Lionel Messi will fade away. Kaka will fade away. Ronaldo will fade away. Everyone will fade away except Pele & Maradona because they define football as we know it.

    I hope this brings an end to all comparisons.

    Raed

  35. Don’t forget about the Brazillian Ronaldo. He has achieved so much and is probably one of the best strikers of all time.

  36. I think you can rate him with Henrys and Zidanes if he keeps his form up but I’d still say he has a while till hes up to Best standard.

  37. All-time greatest 25 Players (in my opinion)

    1. Diego Maradona
    2. Franz Beckenbauer
    3. Pelé
    4. Zinedine Zidane
    5. Johan Cruyff
    6. Ronaldo (Brazil)
    7. Alfredo Di Stefano
    8. Ferenc Puskas
    9. Garrincha
    10. Gerd Müller
    11. Michel Platini
    12. George Best
    13. Eusebio
    14. Marco van Basten
    15. Lothar Matthäus
    16. Bobby Charlton
    17. Paolo Maldini
    18. Zico
    19. Ronaldinho
    20. Ruud Gullit
    21. Thierry Henry
    22. Roberto Baggio
    23. Luis Figo
    24. Fabio Cannavaro
    25. Cristiano Ronaldo & Lionel Messi

  38. you guys have no sence of football those days football was not as quick like these days butt defanders have more rights than attackers deffensive sttrickness was zero swo i rate pele and best better than any one my to 5 players 1 George Best and Pele 2 Diego Maradona 3 yohan Cruyff 4 Frenc Puskas 5 Franz Beckenbauer

  39. i think Muhammad Khan is right those days football for attacking players was very difficult and a player like george Best stands in those dirty tackeles was THE BEST ONLY GEORGE BEST. AND ALSO HE WAS THE MOST GIFTED PLAYER IN THE HISTORY HE PLAYDED FOOTBALL FOR FUN AND STILL FIFA RATED him 3 greatest player. think if he has trained properly like other footballers then what just think.George Best the real best

  40. Cristiano Ronaldo scores 30+ goals; rotating from wing to striker, and now he is in the same league as Maradona and Pele. What utter rubbish!

    I can’t remember him performing against a major opposition; and please don’t tell me Cristiano Ronaldo is a genius, he’s a goal poacher at best.

    You people should take something into account before you agree with the english media. That is Cristiano Ronaldo’s stats this season.

    Cristiano Ronaldo 07/08
    39 games
    37 goals
    7 assists
    227 shots taken
    117 shots on target

    Now let’s compare his stats to another midfielder, but who is 3 years younger.

    Messi 07/08
    27 games
    15 goals
    14 assists
    75 shots taken
    38 shots on target

    Comparing both stats you can see the real truth. Cristiano Ronaldo is definately an upgraded Frank Lampard, and I would take Messi, Kaka, Henry, and the real best player when on form Ronaldinho any day. The only fools who wont accept the truth are the ones who are blind, and those who support Man U.

    Pele and Maradona are the greatest along with players like Maldini, Cruyff, Beckenbauer, Zico, the real Ronaldo, and Zidane. There are reasons for this. They have done it all.

    Ok! you can’t compare the football back in those days to todays. However, back in Pele’s day, the Brazilian League apparently was the best league in the world, and also back then they did not have the same fitness training as the ones we have now. Also back then alot of footballer drank alcohol before a match, and they also played with a football that was heavy and hard, and with boots that weren’t crafted by the nike team for accuracy, precision, and power.

    With todays advancements Pele and Maradona would have been better.

    Comparing Cristiano Ronaldo to Pele and Maradona is like comparing Allen Iverson to Michael Jordan and Larry Bird.

  41. Can’t believe I had to read through 26 replies before the true Ronaldo’s name was mentioned. Thank you enea. It’s far too early to mention CR’s name next to all these great players, he has much to accomplish before he earns that right. First thing is some damn humility and humbleness. Arrogance is an ugly trait and he exudes it. Confidence is good and it’s a fine line between the two but he crosses that line far too much.

    I will commend some of the free kicks I’ve seen CR take though, great combinations of power, dip and accuracy. Although I don’t want to open another can of worms because the best free kick specialists is another story…

  42. you cant compare this fluke you are right shomshir about he just a new version of lampard while comparing him to George Best aaa people say that George Could be far better than Pele if He didnot killed his football by his own hands and taken game serously because he was the most gifted Footballer ever

  43. maradona good pele better and George Best

  44. maradona was able to read the game better than all of you!
    he is complete genius

  45. i think i will find two years later an article :who is besi pele maradona or x…
    it really doesnt matter,who scored more goals?well then think how many goals were used to be scored in those days..,think what position they played in..
    well statistics are like miniskirts, they give you good information but hides the most important things.

    now come to the pure joy factor,the art of dribbling,creativity,passing,constructing a movement; so here comparison should stop someone just have to admire diego,and to a lesser extent crueff .

    now who said cocaine helped playing football?….
    cocaine destroyed diego,otherwise this article would have been started by diego maradona or x…

  46. Cristiano Ronaldo 07/08
    39 games
    37 goals
    7 assists
    227 shots taken
    117 shots on target

    Now let’s compare his stats to another midfielder, but who is 3 years younger.

    Messi 07/08
    27 games
    15 goals
    14 assists
    75 shots taken
    38 shots on target

    thanks for this stat

  47. The article reminded me of some youtube comments I read, regarding boxing. People just insisted on comparing fighters who were in different categories, different eras, different weights, and so on. Obviously we all love to think about the “what if”. What would we think if Pele and Ronaldo were contemporaries? What would Maradona play like if he hadn’t used cocaine?
    And the thing is that probably every statement is correct: Pele was the best, then Best was himself (attempt of a joke), then Maradona was the best, and probably if C Ronaldo keeps improving he might be the new best thing at a sport that keeps changing, but he shouldn’t be on the list, because all the other players finished their carrers and he hasn’t.
    Nowadays I think it’s more complicated to state these things. For example, we all talked about Ronaldinho, we still talk about Kaká, we still talk about Messi but we can’t be sure of the fact that they will actually finish their careers, maybe they’ll just burst up in flames from all the hype.
    The last few brazilian footballers that were considered to be idols or the next big thing, like Ronaldo or Ronaldihno always proved to have some other thing on their priorities, they slipped, became lazy or probably felt like they already had achieved everything because we were all saying so. Players should just be, let them grow and become what they should become. They are instead playing to achieve the high standards our cultures set for them, because we know who Pele and Maradona were. I say we give the new faces a break. There are amazing players waiting to shine nowadays, and at this point we’ve seen so many great things that the only way for us to be surprised would be seeing a player who could score goals with his mind.

  48. Maradona / Zidane / Pele

    Are three players that site Above the world …

    They all won every thing there is to win in world during their time.

    They WERE dominant and WINNERS in their prime !!

    Sure Pele won 3 medals but COME on he is playing with 10 Brazilians !!!

    Maradona came in 1986 with a total Crap team.
    Maradona came in 1990 with another Crap team.
    Maradona in 1994 was with his first good team with likes of Batistuta but we all know what happened.

    Anyways – The point to note is GREAT players WIN …
    The win against ODDs , and with odds!!

    Zidane was DOMINENT in 1998 , then european championship , then confederation cup

    Look what happend to France in 2002 !! with out him ?

    Pele is also a good champion – I am not sure how much silverware he would win but he would win 1 on his own.

    Cristiano Ronaldo has only won local leagues !!!
    Lost the European cup in his home town !!! to Greece !!!
    Then got eliminated in World cups !!!
    and then he CRIED tears like a 19 year old which he was then…

    Christiano Ronaldo – has to win with PORTUGAL to gain respect !!! Just like Maradona did with argentina …

    Or dominate Champions league for 4-5 years to be anywhere close to GREAT 3

    PELE/ZIDANE/MARADONA (THE UNTOUCHABLE) you can’t touch these

    Next in line (Cryuf/Beckenbouver)

    TOP 5 Players have been RESERVED!!

    Curently CR sits with likes of Batistuta/Weah/Gigs …

    He is NOT … WORLD BEATER!!!
    Win with PORTUGAL!!!

  49. 60 s and 70s football was very difficult it preffers deffander you can tackle from any where no proper rules so for me pele and george best equaly greatest players ever if GEORGE BEST have not wasted his talent by alchohal and not attending training sessions PROPERLY LIKE OTHER PLAYERS than only one great Geoge Best Because he was more giffted than any other player

  50. I read this article only to be stunned by the 1st line. comparing cristiano with pele, maradona etc???? CR has not even nearly earned his place in the top 10 in history. The only Ronaldo who deserves such a prestigious accolade is … Ronaldo ! R9. I.e the real Ronaldo, who should go down in the top 5 in history. And he was out for almost 3 years with injury. He’s also now trying to come back from the same injury at 31. Even Van Basten ( another great ) gave up at 29 with a lesser injury. CR may have scored a bucket load of goals this term but it doesnt mean he can be placed on such a podium. The thing is, it’s not just goals! His performances have been very good, but not outrageous. R9 was otrageous for example; in 95,96,97,98 and even 99. Cristiano Ronaldo is a very impressive and talented player, beyond the boundaries of the norm, but has become miraculously OVERHYPED by British media.

  51. rubbish rubbish.thank u for comparing the stats between c.ronaldo&messi.A REASONABLE PERSON would notice frm dat stats that ronaldo is better.u are just hating u who is saying he his an upgraded lampard.ronaldo is good and there is no doubt about dat.let me tell u he is taking portugal 2 d final of euro 08 and portugal will win it.i guess u must be an arsenal fan you shomshir.

  52. How can Cristiano Ronaldo be the best in the world if he’s not even the best player in Manchester United? We can all agree he’s not a team player and he seems to suffer when the play is conceived somewhere other than his feet. Not to mention at times he’s playing for the cameras, and the first game against Barcelona proved that. Watching him pose before shooting the flawed penalty was disgusting, how about some humility? How about scoring? as long as you’re gonna brag..
    An effective Rooney, or Tevez on a good day can totally erase Ronaldo’s overrated footwork. The problem with strikers is their need to rise above the team and score, and while assistances are good, scoring is the way for them to justify their presence in the line-up. They play a game within every game, in which they personally need to shine beyond collective work. I think Rooney and Tevez can actually manage to score while being team players, which will turn out to be more useful than Ronaldo if he doesn’t score. The links of a chain can both work as a team and individually score, and Ronaldo is most definitely not a reasonable candidate yet because he thinks HE is a chain.

  53. ‘alisunday’ I am not an Arsenal fan, I’m an Inter Milan fan. If you want to compare Cristiano Ronaldo to Messi then compare both at the age of 20. Messi is already in the top 3 players in the world. The only thing Cristiano Ronaldo does in a match is goal poach, dive, dive ,dive, “cough” some stepovers, and dive a bit more. I can tell you Portugal won’t make it to the final. They will need someone in the calibre of Zidane and Maradona to get them to the final. Cristiano Ronaldo is like Jairzinho, just goals.

  54. He’s a showboater with a whole load of steppovers. People ,stop comparing him with the greats. Up there with pele , maradona and co.? Piss off! I’m serious. The bleeding Brithish media and Sky Sports hype this guy to kingdom come. There is only one Ronaldo to all true football fans.

  55. Hold your horses folks. C Ronaldo has to first prove he’s better than his contemporaries before going up against the all time best.

    p.s. Zidane is in at least 3rd position, all time.

  56. Both Kaka and Messi outshine him in big matches and they’re ability to dominate big matches is on a another level to C Ronaldo.

  57. In my considered opinion, the top 10 all time is:

    1. Maradona
    2. Pele
    3. Zidane
    4. Cruyff
    5. Di Stefano
    6. Garrincha
    7. Platini
    8. Puskas
    9. Best
    10. Van Basten

  58. Pele’s an ass for bringing up Maradona’s left foot as an issue. He doesn’t realise (or is being disingenuous) that Maradona’s left footed preponderance is a matter or style and aesthetics and very much deliberate. The man was a consumate master and as such had a perfectly good other foot.

    Just like he had tremendous skill in heading but was short. Don’t blame the man for his genes.

  59. Can’t you all see that the Soccer god has come to earth? i have never seen skills that Cristiano ronaldo has always done before. I learn alot from cristiano and i’ve learnt nothing from maradona,pele and best. Cristiano makes me a better soccer player in my hometown. i’ve learnt his skilss and you know what? people who envy his skills and do not recognize him as a greatest skillful player ever are just morons. way to go Cristiano!!

  60. he has scored lots of goals and he is a winger and gifted with god skills. and he is 23.

    Lots more to come from him.

    C.Ronaldo rules

  61. Dude he couldn’t dribble the ball past players like Messi, let alone Maradona, if he’s life depended on it. That’s a fact.

  62. these days kids dont know about football may they have not got a chance to watch the greats like George Best if u have seen him playing u have forgotten Maradona Zidane only Player that was a class like him Pele

  63. John Charles??
    Do any of you even know who he was?
    Well he was voted recently the greatest foreign player of ALL-TIME to have graced Serie A – but I guess that isn’t good enough for all those out there who seem to think its all about trophies – in case you haven’t noticed soccer is a team sport.
    Zidane – one of the greatest playmakers of all time…also one-paced, couldn’t tackle (unless it was with his head) and had a tendency to fade out of games – to compare him with players like Maradona, Pele, Best is just ignorance on the part of people who have not seen seen these guys play….
    Top 10 is impossible to split, but in chronological order:
    Di Stefano, Puskas, Charles, Garrincha, Pele, Best, Cruyff, Beckenbauer, Plantini, Maradona – oh yeah, Plantini – he wasn’t a bad French playmaker either, but he scored a of hell of a lot more goals than old Zizou.

  64. Hey Old Expert,

    please cut out the patronising tone will you? Yes we’ve seen the turtle’s pace of the game and non existent defending of Best’s era so don’t even bother trying to compare him to modern greats such as Maradona and Zidane.

    Welsh dude, nobody cares about Charles. We’re talking all time greats here, not best of the rest.

    I mean to have the nerve to leave out a player with the technique of Zidane so he can fit in Charles is a little to rich to swallow.

  65. hey a if you talk about fast and slow game than serie A and Spanish leauge are still slow only who have picked to much pace is English Priemier Leauge other just slight Quicker than old days and i dont think so Zizou Have playded in EPL

  66. hey if you talk about pace of the Game there are lots of footballer From Spanish Leauge and Seria A that have worked properly in Premiership but there half of no who worked in Seria A and Spanish leauge these days Example Henry

  67. I’m talking about general pace. The Italian and Spanish game is 50% faster than Best’s time, the EPL is 55% faster.

    Reason why Henry did no good in Italy because in England they don’t know how to defend. When Chelsea showed them how, they became almost unbeatable.

  68. C Ronaldo is by all means an exceptionally gifted player and although I do enjoy watching him play, I believe it to be not only premature but unrealistic to compare him or Best for that matter to the skill and genius of Pele or Maradona. The kid is good but “come on” give me a break. Anyone who knows his soccer regardless of nation or pride would, consider Ronaldinho as the only player of the 21st century whose skill could be compared to these God’s of soccer. Friends, Maradona and Pele, they are legendary players. Why? Because they completely and singlehandedly from the age of adolescence completely dominated the international world of soccer.

    With regards.

  69. Michael, he is a good player no doubt but I don’t particularly enjoy watching him play. He has a very ugly style of game, from his running all the way through.

    And then we have his out of place arrogance to content with too.

  70. you are all full of it
    every single on of you
    you cannot compare them, you just can’t

  71. i think maradona is the best of all time .
    1.Maradona
    2.Pele
    3.Cruyff
    4.zidan
    5.pelatini

  72. Pele was the best of all times.

    Facts:
    Pele could run at olympic times for 100m sprint at the time
    Pele has the highest goal/match ratio
    Pele has the most solid career / highest number of goals
    Average goals per match may have varied 10-15% over the past 40 years (http://tinyurl.com/economics-of-football) but even if we discount Pele’s goals by 20% he still has more goals than all other 3 put together!!!
    The Brazilian league was one of the strongest in the world at the time
    Pele played in any position, even as a goal keeper saving penalties
    In the 70′sPele was the 2nd most known brand in Europe, just after Coca-Cola
    (http://espn.go.com/classic/biography/s/Pele.html)

    “If you would use the word perfect, Pele almost is there. He was the greatest soccer player in the history of this game,” says former West German star Franz Beckenbauer on ESPN Classic’s SportsCentury.

  73. i think George best and Pele up top 2nd maradona and 3rd Cruyff

  74. I consider Maradona “one of the greatest players of all time” who left unforgettable memories of his greatness at the 1986 World Cup. Maradona should not forget that Daniel Pasarella’s goal to Peru at the playoffs in 1986, gave the opportunity to Maradona to show his greatness to the world.

    It is impossible to NAME THE BEST OF ALL, but as a SCORER, nobody beats “Pele”. As a COMPLETE PLAYER: Alfredo Di Stefano, Puskas, George Best, Bobby Charlton, Zinadine Zidane, Stanley Mathews, Johan Kruiff, Zarra, Gento, Garrincha and many others. We have to thank all of them for giving us such wonderful moments in our favorite sport.

    Pepe Crow founder of the “World Star” Award.

  75. It is impossible to determine who is, or was, the best soccer player, or team, of all time! ELO ratings, UEFA ratings, voting systems, don’t give the whole story.

    Have you heard of Arthur Friedenreich? He was a Brazilian, before Pele, who scored 1329 goals in 1239 games in the Brazilian league, more than Pele. Does that make him a better soccer player? If you look at Pele’s international goals per game record, he doesn’t come close to Gerd Muller’s or Sandor Kocsis’s 1.1goals per game average. Does that make them better players? Or for that mater Puskas who scored 83 goals in 84 international games.

    As for Maradona, his goal was beautiful to watch, UNBELIEVABLE, FANTASTIC. Was he ever able to repeat that feat? IT WAS A MIRACLE. Pele, Puskas, Zidane never scored a goal like that at the world cup. Does that make Maradona better?

    As for teams: Ferenc Deak who still holds the record for the most goals in one season (66) in Europe, and Laszlo Kubala, who was voted the best Barcelona player of the 20th century, by Barcelona fans, had very few appearances for the 1950′s Hungarian National team. They simply weren’t good enough for that team. They went into the 1954 World Cup finals with a 33 game unbeaten record, were defeated in that game, and went another 18 games without a defeat. Watch videos of that defeat; notice the goalie interference on the second German goal, the disallowed Puskas goal, and the no call when Kocsis is in the box in the last minute of the game, the goal posts and crossbars hit. No wonder the Germans call it the Miracle of Bern. Would there be any doubt, in anybody’s mind, as to which was the best National team of all time, IF they would have won that game?

    Eight players of that Hungarian team are still listed in the best 100 players of all time. They have both the highest and second highest Elo ratings. Brazil 1970 comes in third. Yet the 1970 Brazil team was voted the best team of all time. Were they?

    Back to players: If Maradona had the hand of God, then Kocsis had his head, Pele his right foot and Puskas his left.

    By this time you probably would have guessed that I am Hungarian. I guess patriotism does have something to do with it.

    The bottom line is; we should just enjoy terrific players and teams and not compare them to each other.

  76. First mistake of the Author is; if players are Faster Today -then- consequently, the Same players would be Slower Yesterdays.

    Transporting Cristiano Ronaldo back in time would be Hugely Unfair, Why?? Because Ronaldo eats better, has much better Physical preparation, receives more Protection, etc, etc.. Not to mention, Modern Balls are much easier to Control and Kick.

    Again, the FACT that players receive more Protection in the Modern Game is a decisive difference in the Development of young players.

    If Cristiano Ronaldo tried one of his Dribbling moves against the Defenders of the 1960s and 1970s, he would probably end up with a severed Knee.. consequently, because of his banged up Knees and Legs, he would be much Slower.

    Yes, a kick in the Knees was actually “normal” in the 1960s, there was barely any protection against this kind of brutal challenges.

    Wich leads me to say that the Reality is that things are actually easier Today; players receive much more protection (particularly Star players), better physique programs, modern balls are easier to control and kick, the Off-Side Rule was changed in the 1990s (making it easier to score Goals), etc, etc..

    If Pele was transported to Current Time, he would make Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi look like distant 2nds. Have any doubts?? Then take a look at Juan Roman Riquelme, probably the best player in the world between the years 2002-2006.

    Riquelme is Slower than Pele, or George Best, or Johan Cruijff, or Maradona, etc, etc.. And yet, Riquelme manages to shine in the Modern Game. Why?? Because Football isn’t about Athleticism.. that’s a well known FACT.

    The same can be said about Zinedine Zidane, Cesc Fabregas, Xavi, Van Nistelrooy, and others.

    If a player haves BOTH the Techniqual and Tactical ability, he can succeed regardless of the time. Meaning that players like Juan Roman Riquelme, Johan Cruijff, Romario, Diego Armando Maradona, Pele, etc, etc.. can play and adapt themselves successfully to any Type of Football.

    Although of course, players will always be more Suited to one particular style of Football. And players with good Techniqual and Tactical abilities are extraordinary.

    Bottom Line?? Yes, it is true that the game is Faster and more Physical oriented Today -but- it is also true, that because of that, we have better physique programs (Technology) Today.

    Meaning that Pele would be faster Today, George Best would be stronger Today, Maradona would receive more protection Today -and- viceversa, if Cristiano Ronaldo had been born in the 1950s, he would’ve been Slower and would’ve suffered far more Injuries.

    Anyways, regarding the question ‘How does CR rank with the best??

    Cristiano Ronaldo is a great player, he is a Winger and a Striker in One player -but- alike most great players, he haves his flaws. One of them is that he struggles to really get past players, you don’t see CR getting past Defenders witht the same ease as Leo Messi.

    And, Cristiano Ronaldo cannot make an Average Team play good Football, simply because he doesn’t haves the Ability to do so. He doesn’t haves that rare ability that players like Maradona, Johan Cruijff, and Riquelme had.

    CR is a great player, but he simply isn’t comparable with the players mentioned.

    Pele had a very Powerful and Accurate shot (would be even more powerful today), he could weave his way into the Goal Area from nothing, was great at one-two moves, had great short passes, had great awareness, was Two Footed, etc, etc.. there’s a Reason for him scoring 1000 Goals.

    Romario was really unbelievable, he will always be Underrated for some reasons.. but regardless, Inside of the Penalty Area, there was No One like Romario.

    And then there’s Diego Armando Maradona and Johan Cruijff. There’s just no way of comparing CR with the likes of Maradona or Pele.

    It could be said that IF Cristiano Ronaldo keeps this up, he will be remembered as one of the Greatest ever Wingers.

  77. Wait a second! Your article is so wrong in so many ways!
    First of all: Comparing C.Ronaldo to Pele, Maradona & Best… please! George Best was good but not anywhere in the class of Pele & Maradona! get over it.. history is written at world cups and that’s where Pele & Maradona wrote it.. Best only played at the time for a club that played against relatively miser competition at the time withing England.. Besides, World Cups have a pressure of their own and Best did not prove himself there unfortunately.

    Second Point: Christiano Ronaldo is a good player but not anywhere close to Pele/Maradona class.. Many people think Kaka is a much better player.. put Kaka in Man U against the rest of the English competition and you would have 60 goals per seasons, not 41. Why not so many goals in Kaka’s Italian comp? because the Italian Seria A is well know as the most defensive minded competition in the world! But no argument that Ronaldo is not anywhere close to even Ronaldinho at all!

    Third Point: Pele and Maradona are true greats, legends in their own right but very different. Pele played at the time when teams were not defensively minded.. not the modern game. However, he was ahead of his time with his brilliance. Maradona, faced with a more modern game, had to adapt and hence the fancier footwork.. Both true legends.

    Lastly.. the author of this article is clearly British hence Bias toward Best and English league favourite, the portuguese Ronaldo.. but give us all a break and don’t get carried away!

  78. How can anyone compare ronaldo to george best!

    Anyone as much as touches ronaldo & hes down crying…Best got munched almost every game of his career & it never phased him he got up got on with it and scored!

    George Best and Pele are in a league of their own!

  79. Maradona was the greatest! By far… you can not compare CR with maradona, he has great looking skills but Maradona was unstoppable, every move he made was to get to the net… his passing skills, his strategy, his dribbling even if it does not look as good as CR’s it was way better…. Maradona played almost alone, CR is in a great, great team…. If you don’t believe me, then take CR no Napoli or the Argentina team and lets see if he can make it happen. No way, just watch their videos.

  80. sorry mate, Cristiano ronaldo would be even more of a phenomenon back thirty or forty years!!!???i think not, imagine him getting kicked about the place, he wouldnt last two seasons!!!as for georgie not being able to make it, he was tough as a nut,one of the most courageous players going.the whole drink problem would have curtailed his career, as it did in reality, but he would have been an EVEN BETTER player than he was, and ronaldo would have been a worse one if back in the 60′s and 70′s

  81. Stop kidding yourselves please, Cristiano Ronaldo is a good player in a great team but cannot be compared to Maradona who was several echelons above in individual and collective ability. Remember his instinctive pass to Burruchaga in the World cup final in ’86??? That won the cup for Argentina.. Cristiano is famous for evading defenders with skilled footwork and scoring at point blank range thanks to one of his team mates mostly (dont get me wrong, he is a great player) but not even close to Maradona or Pele for that matter. Now… George Best… George WHO?? I’m sorry to all the British subjects here but Georgie was a legend in the British Isles and that’s it.. Unfortunately he didn’t prove himself with the best defenders and teams in the world in a world cup like Pele and Maradona did. Not even Cristiano Ronaldo has proven himself in a world cup when there is unprecedented pressure not seen in the leagues most of the time. So in conclusion, let George Best have a recognition as a good player amongst ordinary competition but don’t put him in the same category as Maradona or Pele please! Now… I hear many mention Beckenbauer and Cruyff… Gees! There were great players, but again… not in the same level as Maradona and Pele!

  82. Having seen Puskas live, and all the others on TV, I simply don’t understand how you can include Christiano Ronaldo, among the best. He is playing in the English Premier League and therefore receives a lot of media attention; he is a good-looking guy and a very entertaining player. However, in International Football, he doesn’t compare to even his namesake Ronaldo.

    Realizing that statistics can be misleading, it still tells about players’ abilities. Maradona, won the best player of the century award due to a blitz by Argentineans on internet voting. Compare: (Maradona: 91 International Games-34 Goals to Pele: 92 Games-77 Goals). Would you vote for Maradona? Did he score a goal in the two World Cup Finals he appeared in? Pele scored 3. Even being very subjective, how can you possibly say he was as good or better?

    Compare: Ronaldo to Christian Ronaldo (Ronaldo: 97 Games-62 Goals to Christian Ronaldo 61 Games-21 Goals). Is there any way you can say that Christian Ronaldo is better? You can argue all you want about defenses being tighter, the speed of the game being faster, the goalposts being round instead of square, the change in rules, the weight of the ball, whether a player is one footed etc. etc. The fact is, the game is still and always has been, decided on the number of goals scored, and great players find a way to score those goals.

  83. To Tihamer: It isn’t any useful to say a player is better than another by how many goals they scored! Some Australia bagged 20 odd goals against some Island nation back in the 90s and a Russian holds the record for most goals scored in a world cup yet you never heard of them. Maradona didn’t get the player of the century award due to Argentinians voting online.. he got it because the class of his play and quality of goals. By the way, I am not Argentinian! Pele also had this class although in a different style of play.

    They thing with Cristiano Ronaldo is that he doesn’t have a real game changing ability… sure he is fast and has fancy footwork but I never seen him dribble and fake his way to score a goal.. most of his fancy footwork is to evade defenders in order to centre the ball. He scores a lot of goals for a midfielder thats true but certainlt he is no Maradona and no Pele (at this stage).

  84. To Boris: If you notice, I didn’t mention Gerd Muller, Sandor Kocsis, or Juste Fontaine as being among the best players of all time. These players didn’t score their goals against any small Island Nation, and scored many game winning goals. By the way: Juste Fontain scored the most goals in a single World Cup, and Ronaldo has the most goals in World Cup history, there are NO Russians!

    As I said, statistics can be misleading. Look at Ali Daei of Iran, who has the most international goals of any player. He did score most of his goals against obscure nations.
    Statistics should be a guide, not a deciding factor in judgment. Neither should emotion.

    Maradona won 53.6% of the Internet voting for player of the century, while Pele won only 18.5%. FIFA realizing that the vote was rigged decided to split the award.
    Do you really believe the vote wasn’t rigged? The bandwagon for Maradona is certainly
    rolling, and many people are on it. Undoubtedly he was ONE of the most gifted and skillful players of all time. As in figure skating: you don’t judge the best skater by the figures he skates, or the short or long program, but the total of all his abilities. In soccer, scoring goals is ONE of those abilities. You can dribble all you want; there are no awards for dribbling or quality of goals.

    Christiano Ronaldo has a long career infront of him. Lets see if he can match the achievements of these great players. He can step over the ball and dribble all he wants, but when it comes down to it, the goals he creates or scores are what he will be remembered and judged by.

  85. To Tihamer:
    I said the Russian scored most goals in a match at a world cup. Guys like CR7 are given the honour to take every penalty kick that comes his team’s way so that also helps him rack up goals. In any case, who cares about internet voting? Have you seen what Maradona did to the classy opposition he played against? even in World Cup Finals? Pele also performed under such pressure.
    A player like KAKA is more value for money than C Ronaldo any day… Funny he isn’t really mentioned in this article. By the way, Maradona dribbled his way to Goals, so did Pele. C Ronaldo dribbles his way to centering the ball. He does score but not from a dribbling run.
    So far, when AC Milan play Man U and when Portugal plays Brasil, KAKA has outshone C Ronaldo by light years… WHY?? Because KAKA reads the play so much better as well as creates chances for himself and team mates. C Ronaldo does not read the play as well but he creates chances for team mates but but not for himself so much.. chances are created for him! DOn’t get me wrong.. I actually like C Ronaldo but telling it like it is (at this stage!… he may improve in the future)

  86. To Boris: Sorry; I misunderstood you meant in a single match. And yes, I’m old enough to have seen Puskas, Pele and Maradona, and what they could do to the opposition. And, I TOTALLY agree, one match doesn’t tell much about a player. But at the same time, Maradona’s one time run in the 1986 World Cup against England, is constantly being brought up to justify him being mentioned with Pele. And, it proved that he could also use his head to score a goal. In the two finals against Germany he wasn’t able to split the defense with such ease. As I said before, he never scored a goal in the two finals he played in, one of which they lost 1-0 to Germany. One goal against Germany in 1990 would have been very persuasive, to be ranked with Pele, or for that matter (God I’m getting old.) Puskas.

    Don’t get me wrong; Argentina would NEVER have won the 1986 World Cup without him. They wouldn’t have made it to the finals without him in 1990. And to repeat myself, I think he was a TERRIFIC player. But NOT a Pele; who was able to prove his greatness game after game, creating opportunities AND scoring goals in all the finals he appeared in.

    But then again; Pele was NEVER red carded in a World Cup game, Maradona was. I guess Maradona was better at something. (Sorry, I just couldn’t help myself putting this in.)

    Enough about history.

    Talk about players not being mentioned. How about another Argie, Messi. Would you have believed Barcelona would be a better team without Ronaldinho? Having great players like Eto’o, Henry, Iniesta etc. etc. the game totally changes when Messi is on. Talk about reading the game, the inventiveness,the unpredictability, the quickness of his decision-making, his speed, control, the one touch passing, and accuracy. This kid has it all, he is FANTASTIC, and he’s only 21.

    He will be the same age at the 2010 World Cup, as Maradona was in his first Wold Cup appearance in 1982. Pekerman, the Argentine coach, made a great mistake not using Messi in the 2006 Quarterfinals against Germany, lets hope Maradona can do better with him.

  87. Tihamer,
    Don’t get me wrong, I think Pele is unequaled as a instinctive player.. I am sorry to say I have never seen Puskas play although I heard of his achievements (so I can’t comment about Puskas). Again, I am not an Argentine. In fact, I don’t fancy the style of play of most Argentinian squads throughout the years.. specially more recently.. I just don’t fancy it. However I think Maradona was an amazing player in an era of tough defenders. I think his star was already diminishing in Italia ’90 and certainly in USA ’94. Yes, his name was made in Mexico ’86 where he won the World cup almost single handedly.

    Pele? yes.. I think his star shone brightest in (of all places) Mexico ’70. Before then in Sweden, yes he was a bright prospect for the future then and scored.. but not the best player in the world (in Sweden).. then in England? i think something happen to him there and Brazil didn’t perform all the way to the final. So there you have it.. Pele also made his name in 1 world cup.. Mexico ’70 and to add to this, he was playing in a star laden team unlike Maradona in Mexico ’86.

    Again.. don’t get me wrong.. If I could come back as a player in the next life, I would come back as Pele and not Maradona, just because I like Pele’s style so much better.. but these two are hard to split apart even though their styles were so different.

    Messi you mentioned? I think he is a great player of today but that’s it (for now). I think the best player of the current generation is KAKA, pity he is yet to prove himself in a world cup just like Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and most of the younger elite…. Having said this, the other Ronaldo certainly proved himself already and scored in the final of the Japan/Korea world cup.

  88. To Boris: I agree with everything you say, except Pele was already the best player who played at the World Cup in 1958. ( di Stefano, Puskas did not play.)

    Pele was injured in a game against Bulgaria in 1966 and he was injured also in 1962, as was Puskas in the first game against Germany in 1954. There was no World Cup in 1946 and Hungary (it’s hard to believe with the money in football nowadays) didn’t have the money to send a team to the 1950 World Cup in Brazil, and due to the Hungarian Revolution in 1956 he couldn’t play in 1958. He started for Spain at the World Cup in 1962 , but by then he was already 35 and di Stefano was 36. A few years earlier, (I think) they would have demolished the opposition. I wonder what the history books would say about him if he could have played in those World Cups. (Or played in the time of TV.)

    Getting back to Pele in 62 and 66. Back in those days, (or as my granddaughter says “ in the olden days”)(up to 1970) there was no substitution. So unless a player was totally fit, and able to play the whole game, the coach couldn’t play him. The Hungarian coach made the mistake of playing Puskas, injured, in the final against Germany in 1954. Although he scored, and had a controversial goal disallowed, they basically played with ten men the whole game. The lesson was learned by the other coaches. So Pele missed a lot of games in 62 & 66 that he could have started or could have played a partial role in, had substitutions been allowed.

    Again, I’m rambling on about history.

    Getting back to today. Yes Kaka is a great player and he is still young enough to make an impression in 2010. Did you see Messi in 2006? Lets hope they will be fit in 2010. It will be exciting, and perhaps they can make history.

    Just finished watching AC Milan-Reggina. How about Pato. His run earning the penalty kick, Kaka scoring. Life is not fair!

  89. Tihamer: In regards to pre 1970 history you know way more than I do so I will agree with you about Pele (since I also like him better than Maradona). In regards to Pato.. I saw his first 10 or so games with AC Milan and was dissapointed in him. Maybe he has improved..? With Messi..he is great but he is missing something that all the greats had…I can’t put my finger on it….

    I think though, going back to previous topic, that pound for pound at the moment, KAKA is the better player (even though I am not a die hard fan of his).. there seems to be no player these days that can score from outside the goal area (long distance) with enough frequency..everything is close range these days…

  90. You are probably talking about his physique. Messi had a hormonal problem that prevented his growth, when he was a teenager. Barcelona offered his father to pay for his medical bills. What a great investment! Talk about getting a 1,000,000% interest rate, and I’m probably missing a few zeros. I just hope his treatments (Growth Hormones) will not come back to haunt him later on in his career. It certainly isn’t affecting him now. To me, he looks fragile, and he doesn’t appear to have the physique that some of the greats had. Not sure whether he will be able to stand up to the wear and tear of the game over time. Guardiola seems to think he can. But time will tell.

    Talking about medical problems. How about Garrincha, perhaps the second best Brazilian of all time. He had several birth defects: including a deformed spine, his right leg bent inwards and his left leg six centimeters shorter and curved outwards. I think he was the best dribbler of all time.

    Back on history again! Just can’t seem to help myself.

    Just watched Barcelona-Sporting Gijon. “Messi. Ah, what a player.” The correct punctuation is probably; “Messiah. What a player.”

  91. Tihamer: no I didn’t mean Messi’s physique… he is a great player though.. missing something… I don’t know what.. I wonder who was/is better.. Garrincha or Messi?

  92. Boris.
    WAY, WAY too early to tell. As you said one game is not a career. He isn’t even 21.

    But talking about long distance scoring, my memory might be failing me, but the accuracy of Puskas from long range has never been equaled. Quoting George Best on Puskas when he met him in Australia.

    “the players he was coaching did not respect him until he put the ball down outside the area and intentionally hit the cross bar ten times in a row.”

    From http://nebuchadnezzarwoollyd.blogspot.com/2006/09/major-gallops-on_15.html

    There aren’t many videos of Puskas and di Stefano, but watch the one against Eintracht Frankfurt in the European final on YouTube, when you have the time.I know it’s only one game, but it does give you a feel of the individual and combined skills of these great players.
    It’s fairly good quality.
    Maybe some other old fart, like me, can get into this discussion and back me up on some of these points.

    To be honest, I’m TOTTALY BIASED ON PUSKAS. I’m from Vancouver, Canada and when he coached the Vancouver Royals in the late 60′s, he came and scrimmaged with the team I was playing for. It seemed like maybe 5 minutes. He was in his mid forties and I was a young impressionable man. But what an impression he made. He had our whole team sitting on our asses trying to stop him. Not showing off, just trying to teach us some skills. The speed at which he played, even then. And what a great human being, to take the time and play with a bunch of kids. Those few minutes mean more to me, than even my first sexual experience (which I doubt lasted that long).
    So there you have it. You can now, if you chose, disregard everything I’ve said about Puskas.

  93. Tihamer: I remember black and white snippets of documentaries where Puskas was featured (I was a word cup history fan from the age of 6)… I always heard he was great but I never really saw him in action on tv. That is a great experience you talked about (not your first sexual experience… I meant the Puskas one)….

    I was always a fun of the mechanic orange (dutch team of the 70s and the French team of the 80s) and of Pele and Roberto Rivelino .. so Im also starting to feel old!

  94. Boris.
    The definition of Old, according to the Encyclopedia Tihamerica is: when you forget your sexual experiences, but you still remember the games. If you don’t remember the games: that’s the definition of Dead.

    I hope neither of these applies to you.

    Yes, Johan Cruijff, what a player, what a totally enjoyable brand of football. I almost cried when they lost to Germany, and I did when they lost to Argentina. That team, if any in history, deserved the big prize. Hitting the goal post, to break the 1-1 tie, in the last minute. Then losing in overtime. What a shame. But it’s better than loosing on penalty kicks. HATE penalty kicks to decide the game. They should decide it like we do with hockey here in Canada. Play the game until somebody scores. The game might go on for a couple of days, but who cares, I’m not very sexually active anymore anyways.

    As I said, I live in Canada and a lot of games weren’t broadcast back then. Don’t remember much about the French team in the 80′s. But I did see Platini in a few games and was totally impressed.

    Don’t care much for the German brand of soccer, and I’m not crazy about the Italians either, but they get the job done.

    Who is going to stop Spain this time?

  95. Tihamer:
    I still have the drive for the chicks (Thank God!)..In any case.. We do agree on the Italians and Germans.. especially the current teams.. what a bore they are to watch! The current World Champions are also the world champions of boredom! Ballack..the most over-rated player of all time along with David Beckham… it is a joke that a defense minded team like Italy are wolrd champions… I would rather not win in that style!
    Thank God Spain are finally getting some results…
    Where’s the likes of Gerson, Jairzihno, Rivelino!… never again! Even the the “always-used-to-be-exiting-to-watch” south american teams are playing more and more europanized than ever! Now the game is dominated by actors diving all over the place (e.g. C. Ronaldo and the whole argentinian and Italian Teams!!!!!)

  96. Boris:

    They should start flooding the fields; those poor players are hitting the dirt pretty hard when they dive. One of my current favorite players, (when he’s vertical) is Arjen Robben, and I must admit he isn’t as bad as he used to be, but I swear, I could predict when he would go down. C Ronaldo, (I don’t see him as often, because of our TV service,) should be carrying toothpicks around with him, to pick the turf out of his teeth. He seems to be pretty good at eating turf.

    Look at “The Game of the Century” according to the British press. England-Hungary 1953. Puskas is mowed down inside the penalty box. While on his back, instead of looking to the referee, he passes to Hidegkuti, who scores. Today, they are so busy performing their act; they don’t even attempt to pass the ball. They roll around with tears in their eyes, begging the referee for a PK. (Back on Puskas again?) How often did you see Pele beg for a call? (But, if I remember right, Maradona wasn’t immune to the temptation). As a matter of fact, I can remember when players used to indicate to the referee that they made the right call, when the call was against them. I believe some of those acts deserve a Red card, never mind a Yellow. IT’S JUST PLAIN CHEATING. But then sportsmanship has no room in business, which I’m afraid sports ARE nowadays.

    When the ball goes out of bounds, in today’s game, it is just automatic that both players put their hands up, to show they should get the call. One of the players in the vast majority of cases knows, FOR CERTAIN, he had touched the ball last. CHEATING! PITIFUL! And even the player, who didn’t touch the ball last, let the linesman or referee make the call.

    Players now are begging the referee to give the opposing player a Yellow card. (England-Portugal 2006. C Ronaldo begging the referee to give Rooney the Yellow card.) PLEASE. How pitiful can you get? Besides, Rooney would have got the Yellow anyway. Leave the referees alone already. Just play the game. Except for the captain of the team, I would disallow players interacting with the referee, as I think the rules were meant to be.

    Wow! That was a tantrum.

    One thing about my favorite player Messi, although not very muscular, he doesn’t seem to go down that easy. Or maybe he’s a better actor?

    As for the “homogenization” of the game. That is predictable. With the exception of a few great players, from around the world (i.e. Riquelme, another of my favorites.) a vast majority of players, who make their national teams, are playing in the European leagues now. And, even the Europeans are spread across the continent, there doesn’t seem to be the differences there used to be, in national style of play.

  97. Tihamer: I don’t know.. but I don’t wana see every team in the world play like Holland or try to.. it is just plain boring if you are not the Dutch (the dutch are not boring by the way)..

    Even Brazil is playing like some Eastern European country!
    I guess the South American individual flair alone doesn’t cut it these days.

    oh and about Messi… he better perform at a World Cup or he will be remembered like a George Best… a great player against club opposition.. not the very best from each country in the world… Riquelme?? he is OK but not a great.. spends too much time trying to look smug .. he should run more during a match and try to fulfill his potential. On the Argentinian theme… Tevez… oh God.. what happened to him??? he used to be such a predator.. now he is more like a little tasmanian devil running full speed at somebody and fouling them if the ball is taken away from him… he went from a match winner to a handy fill-in. The stand out I think is Maxi Rodriguez.. now that guy can strike a ball like a man (unlike the little tap ins half a metre from the goal that lots of over-rated players build their careers on).

    I think if this diving problem lingers, the future of Football is dark.. other sports will seem fairer to future generations.. I say start “really” handing out yellow cards for diving of any sort, use video if necessary (without interrupting the game but administer the sanction after the match). Not the ideal solution I know.. but something is gotta be done about this!… It it sucking the enjoyment out of world cups most importantly!! E.g. Rivaldo versus Turkey in Korea/Japan, Grosso diving in overtime against Australia in Germany ’06 (won the game for Italy), etc… My beef is this… If a guy dives in the penalty area lookign for a penalty, lifts his hands up and starts moaning about not getting a penalty but the referee waves play on and no foul… that means the ref didn’t take the bait (GREAT SO FAR…).. but.. WHY DOESN’T HE BOOK THE PLAYER THAT DOVE???? It is either a foul or diving.. NOT PLAY ON!

  98. Boris;

    Look at the number of Dutch coaches, and Dutch players around the world today. You might not want all club and national teams playing the Dutch game, and they won’t, but they have certainly had a great influence on the game. Just as the Hungarian players and coaches had in the 1950′s. Holland copied, and adapted, the Hungarian style of play to end up with “Total Football” in the 70′s. Brazil would not have been the same Brazil, if it wouldn’t have imported Hungarian coaches in the 40′s & 50′s. I certainly don’t think the game would be as popular had the “Magical Magyars” not come along with “The Whirl” the “Clockwork Orange” with “Total Football” and the Brazilians, well enough said. Can you imagine the game with, the stiff, old English WM formation? Would football be NEARLY as popular?

    Canada certainly had an eye opening experience in hockey in the 1970′s, as England had in football in the 50′s. The Russian system totally changed our way of thinking about the game. We adapted out of necessity. We certainly didn’t want to. There are many, who still believe the game should be played the way it was “back then”. And, I’m afraid to say, we are drifting back to the “Olden Days”. But, with all the best hockey players in the world playing in North America today, (talk about homogeneity) I doubt a National Team, or a club team, will ever surprise us again, and force us to change, the way the Russians did. We are not playing; Russian hockey, but they certainly changed “Our Game”.

    Yea. I perhaps over inflated Riquelme. Messi, on the other hand, played great in 2006, when he was given the chance. As I said before, certainly hope Maradona uses him better.

    Can’t comment on Tevez, I think I’ve only seen him once. As I said, our TV does not cover English football very well. See a lot of Italian, Spanish, German & Argentinian teams (Boca Juniors mostly), English teams very seldom, Brazilian teams never. I am not sure if that’s the reason, but I think, English teams have priced themselves off our TV.

    Totally agree with you on your last paragraph. Don’t want to get into another tantrum. So I’ll just end here.

  99. Tihamer: Yes, Messi is a good player but can he get “great”… that is the question. Maradona is critized by many but here is a guy that knows his stuff in regards to exploting an individual’s ability. So I expect to see Messi make a bigger contribution in 2010 (if Argentina qualify)… I hear the Canadian soccer coach said Canada expect to win the World Cup in 2018….

  100. Boris:

    That’s a good one! Both Bobby Robson and Puskas tried to coach in Canada. They soon realized that if they put skates on us, and a sharp blade at the end of our sticks, we make great groundskeepers. Now, stop with the humor already.

    There is a great interest in Canada, as can be seen by the record breaking attendance at the last U20 World Cup, held in Canada. Our Women’s soccer team has enjoyed some success. More kids in the country play soccer, BY FAR, than any other sport. Having said all this, we don’t have a diaper to champion system, like we have in hockey. Our coaches, more often than not, are glorified weekend babysitters. You have to experience the difference in intensity of the players, fans, and parents, at a hockey game compared to soccer in Canada.

    By the way; we call it soccer, and until we stop doing that, and rename OUR football to “rugball, freakball (where else can a 350 lb. overweight athlete make a living?)” or something else, I don’t think the world is going to take us seriously.

    If we could play in the World Cup final against Germany today, perhaps we would have a chance. Did you see Germany-Norway?

    I certainly hope Maradona can do better than Batista did with the U20 Argentinean team. WHAT A DISASTER! Maradona certainly has a lousy (club) record coaching, SO FAR. What qualifies him to be a National Team coach (besides his name) anyway? He has already alienated Messi by calling him selfish (in public). A good coach would never have done that to one of his star players. To tell you the truth, judging by what I’ve heard on the media about his personality, I wouldn’t be surprised if he somehow sabotages Messi. Maybe I’m paranoid, I know it’s harsh, I’m probably wrong, but that’s my opinion. Hope he stands back (becomes a figurehead), and allows his much more qualified underlings, to do the coaching. We will see.

  101. Tihamer and Boris for god’s sake stop behaving like kids.
    What do you both guy know about soccer? Why you people talking about Maradona’s personal life while you should
    talk about his playing career.Man grow up mentally and know what you are talking about the soccer God ” MARADONA”. Will
    you ever think a holy man can glorify himself to such an extent that he will be talked in the same bracket as that of
    the Almighty.No never and it is a sin to think about it also. No one I say No one can ever come half a way towards Maradona’s greatness.He is the only Soccer god and the
    greatest individual to have born on this planet.
    Show some respect to Diego as he deserves it the most.Yeah pele, Didi,
    Zidane,Puskas,Yeysin are the best of all but Maradona is the
    teacher to all of them.He is even a good human being as he
    respects his parents and siblings the most.So to me he is the universal.I hope now you guys will stop crying about
    the greatest as I think you understood the criteria to be
    the best.

  102. Please people dez no need for asking who is the greatest footballer. .Not that i like Dihno but the guy has all the unbelievable skills we all know what he did, is there any player who has his child hood soccer matches on tape. . no ! because Dihno was so good that they captured most of his child hood games on tape, without any questions Ronaldihno is the Soccer God, ryt nw hez not doing well but we all know what hez capable of, im sure u can ask dt 1 2 Salgado,Zidane was good, Ronaldihno is extremely Good !

  103. My points
    - Brazil league does not suck nowadays, think about it even if we sold all our best players dont you think an average brazilian is still better than a good brit. jk but you get the point
    - the league was even better in pele’s time
    - Current players can never be put in best ever discussions thats simply foolish
    - i EXTREMELY AGREE with Amateur on his players playing in different eras theory… if pele had been born in like the 80′s with his -(equation)- natural ability + already good athletics + enhanced modern athletics + Learning currents techniques + watching modern game/players+ and brazil already being a soccer powerhouse = amazing!
    - if a player is to be considered the best it is obvious he would have to play the – number 10/center attacking mid/brain of the team/playmaker and goalscorer position which is often especially in South America no. 10
    -george best shouldn’t be in this conversation though i do consider him a great hardworking striker who would probably start on england’s century xi team
    - zico garrincha jairzinho rivelino – replace- cruyff di sttefano puskas platini (respectively) any day

  104. Have to have a laugh at the rage of the Maradonna lovers out there this guy was a drugs cheat FACT!

    He was even offically caught when his cronies could no longer get away with taking his tests for him (one of his former friends confessed to this in a drunken rage lol)

    Even the moderate writers on here forgive him for that, the people and government of his country brush the fact he was a drugs cheat his whole career under the carpet.
    They invent crazy excuses for him in athletics a drug cheat is a shameful thing why not in football lol

    Also the comments about the author’s British bias is a bit silly does that not also mean you are bias because you come from a different country? Oh no I forgot bias is only right when its YOUR BIAS! Honestly theres more intelligent things wrote on youtube lol

  105. Not this old chestnut. As pointed out numerous times before, the balls, pitches, playing conditions, tackling and general level of professionalism and fitness make any comparisons between the pre-80s game and modern football decidedly ill-matched. I remember when the only people who could head a football were certifiable maniacs who lost half their brain cells upon full impact. Ronaldo would have been too scared to play against the Italian sides of the 70s and 80s. Had he done so, he probably would have ended up crippled. Even Maradona, who I rate as the best I personally ever saw, could not manage to make any impact whatsoever against Claudio Gentile. (Gentile, who would be banned today was nevertheless the most formidable man-marker of his day.)

    I’ve got a library of over 300 classic World Cup, European and South American games. I’ve watched some of the games a dozen times. But despite a good working knowledge of the game and a lot of time spent watching great teams, I could only muster enough temerity to maybe tell you who was good or who was truly bad. Anything else would be just more myth-making.

    The game has always been about contradictions and unpredictability. Players just as much as teams.

    Pele is over-rated because he took part in three world cup winning campaigns surrounded by many players who were his equal and a defence that in ’70 lacked any credibility whatsoever.(Gerson, Clodoaldo and Jairzinho were certainly better in ’70.) Zico is massively under-rated because he took part in no successful world cup campaigns. Garrincha never had the worldwide media exposure of either. Is that really fair? Defenders like Rosato and Vogts are never mentioned in the same breath as Moore and Beckenbauer, who were certainly no better as contemporaries. Fulvio Collovati’s performance in the ’82 World Cup Final is one of the greatest I have ever seen, yet Scirea gets all the plaudits. Bonhof barely gets a mention for his extraordinary performance in ’74. Neeskens and Keizer were consistently better performers for Ajax at their peak than Cruijff or Krol ever were. Yet everyone remembers the moments of Cruijff brilliance. And hardly anyone nowadays remembers the Austrians and Hungarians of the 30s and 50s. Yep, nothing but contradictions. That’s football as they say…..

  106. Interesting comment Stakh. But I want to add something about Gentile, who was a formidable defender as you say. In 1983 the Romanian Balaci made a fool of him in a Romania-Italy (qualifier for Euro 84). Balaci was a very clever (and very skillful) forward and he moved Gentile out of his zone during the whole game. With Gentile displaced from his natural zone he was an easy prey for Balaci´s skills. Finally Romania won the game by 1-0 and got the ticket to Euro 84. Italy, the world champions, were eliminated. Gentile admited after the game that he had been humiliated by Balaci. This performance is still very remembered in Romania because Gentile was seen as one of the best defenders in those years.

    The thing with Balaci (he was very close to sign with teams like Milan or Bayern, but the communist regime didn´t let him go from Romania) is that he got a very serious knee injury few months later, due to a bad challenge made by a rival (this speaks about the football brutality at that time). It wasn´t easy for skillful players like him. His career got over due to that injury at the age of 27, and few weeks before the Euro 84. Still he´s considered a top5 player in Romanian football history. I wanted to share this story because is unknown out of Romania.

    On topic…I think C.Ronaldo shouldn´t be compared with legends such as Pele, Maradona or Cruyff. He´s a good player, but those are gods of this sport. What has C.Ronaldo done in football to be compared with them?

  107. Cristiano not in league of George Best, Maradona & Pele
    ,Messi could be.
    Maradona good,Pele better and George Best

  108. Number 46. When reading your post i subconsciously put on a ridiculous english accent as your narrator… i don’t know why…i hope you don’t sound like that

    top three of all time based on ability not trophies imo:
    maradona
    zidane
    cryuff

  109. maradona is the greatest.. c.ronaldo said that too.. what crap are people talking about maradona wouldnt match ronaldo today.. maradona played in 80′s where quality football was at its best against awesome defence and counter attack.. maradona is god and the greatest and he faced the greatest.. maradona is greatest of all time

  110. It is my opinion that Ronaldo (the “original” one) was the best striker. You cannot compare between positions. Maradona was more of an attacking midfielder/second striker – same with Maradona. Ronaldo of Brazil was undoubtedly the best striker.

  111. Best.

  112. You all forget Hagi! Among the best of the best!! Not too much advertising but better than Ronaldo and Best and close top Pele or Maradona:)..

    Pele is Hagi of Brazil, and Maradona is Hagi of Argentina!

  113. You are all silly.I think CR9 is the best of the best , and you compare him to any of the other players, just doesnt make sense.He is the most exicting players of all times . He is good to look at and watch is a pleasure.
    THERE HAS NEVER BEEN OR WILL EVER BE ANYONE LIKE HIM. I dare the person who says WHAT HAS RONALDO DONE FOR SPORT, crazy people.

    • looks like you got a crush on cristiano ronaldo…
      we are talking about football player skills…not his body or legs….

  114. Pele is the best. there will never be a player so complete again, and so succesful. world record in goals, world cups, he was strong fast, skillfull with both legs, everything.

    Pele was the best in the world for over 15 years. he played against the best teams in the world at endless tours with santos and sometimes would play 3-4 games a week. just because you could see maradona on TV does not mean he is better.

    pele was voted as best:

    Football Player of the Century, by IFFHS International Federation of Football History and Statistics: 1999
    Football Player of the Century, elected by France Football’s Golden Ball Winners : 1999
    Athlete of the Century, elected by world wide journalists, poll by French daily L’Equipe: 1981
    Athlete of the Century, by Reuters News Agency: 1999
    Athlete of the Century, elected by International Olympic Committee: 1999

  115. I respect your opinion Fisher, but missed the name of Johan Cruyff to me was the greatest after Pelé!

  116. Mesi Mesi Mesi and Mesi again ! This boy is brilliant … lets talk again after the 2010 Worlcup !

  117. Cristiano Ronaldo The Best Player in The World

  118. cristiano ronaldo still a far far list from even being related to the best….i cant even count on my fingers how far the list he is…..he is definetly on of the best players of today and will most likely be remembered by football fans worldwide….now stop….i can name just some names that are in front of him…im my opinion the best ever is Ronaldo R9(brazil)
    ok heres the list
    1.Ronaldo Phenomenon (brazil)
    2.KIng Pele (brazil)
    3.Maradona (argentina)
    4.johan Cruyff
    5.zinadine Zidane(france)
    6.Eusebio(portugal)
    7.MAne Garrincha (brazil) he invented most tricks
    8.Roberto baggio (italy)
    9.romario (brazil)
    10. ronaldinho(brazil) truelly the most skilled of all times without a doubt…carried barcelona on his back…
    11.figo (portugal)
    12.cristiano ronaldo (HERE HE IS)
    13.Messi (argentina)
    14.Kaka (brazil)
    15.Wayne Rooney(england)
    16.Steven gerrard (england)
    17.Zico (brazil)
    18. samuel etoo (camerron)
    19.roberto carlos (brazil)
    20.arshavin(arsenal and russia)

  119. The best forward player up to now is probably Maradona but as a goal scorer I think that Ronaldo from Brazil is simply the greatest. Van Basten would come just after him in that respect. But we will have to wait for both Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo till they finish their careers to make a final conclusion as these players extraordinary skills and potential.

  120. 1) Pele
    2) Maradona
    3) Johan Cruyff
    4) Zidane
    5) Best
    6) Ronaldo

    I agree with most of Pedro list except I’d put George Best and Ronaldo after Zidane.

    I agree Ronaldo Phenomenon would have been the greatest player ever if he didn’t get injured. It’s a shame really he was the best ever at his age but needed more achievements to surprise Pele and Maradona.

    Here is my comparison with Pele and Maradona for those who put Maradona on top.

    Pele is definitely the best skill wise and was excellent at everything so Pele is the undoubtly the greatest ever player but Maradona was great only when he had his super hero cape on so that when he was hot he became a one man show.

    Pele was skilled and most talented in everyway in could use both feet and all parts of his body, skilled passer and he was more a team player. He was athletic, quick , strong and a goal scoring machine. It was a different era because there was no red cards or yellow cards so he got knocked up and Santos/Brazil was the greatest team at the time beating the European leagues with ease.

    Maradona was an quick on his feet and was an excellent ball handler but he couldn’t use both feet and did not use his head often but he was more of a freakish type player so he was hot and cold but when he was hot he was unstoppable. When he was unstoppable he was a one man machine.

    So you are comparing Pele who was perfect in every way in skill and talent and no flaws in his game versus Maradonna who didn’t have as much skill as Pele and was inconsistent but when he was hot he could take over games.

  121. Lev Yashin is the best football player ever. Why can a goalkeeper not be the best football player ?

  122. you all are crazy who are comparing maradona with these bull shits like pele etc
    maradona cant compare with anyone because he is the god of football and god cant compare with anyone.
    i think you guyz better understand

  123. Saint maradona is God of soccer.If every one just pay attention to quality of San Diego football playing and then compare with pele football playin realize my first statement very well .pele is better than maradona only in personal life but in art of soccer playing and soccer career Maradona is more better than pele

  124. lol….. i cant beleive that they even put that clown ronaldo wanna be next to those legends …….. he is not even good enough to tie their shoe laces ….. small teams bully big teams mouse …. diving 24/7, doesnt even make decent passes all he do is useless backheels that are intercepted …. he does like 1000 stepovers without beating the defender!! all he has is speed and strong shots but no vision no team work
    great players step up in big games all he do is blame it on the coach or somebody else when he was hiding somewhere the whole game!……. most OVERRATED player i have ever seen

  125. 1. Pele

    2.Ronaldo Luis Nazario de lima

    3.Maradonna

    4. Ronaldinho

  126. Charlton, Maradona, Zidane, Pele, Best, Cruyff, Hagi, Stoichkov, Romario, Puskas, De Stefano, Baresi, Zico, Bergkamp, Beckanbauer, Muller, Schmeical, Garincha, Rivelino, Rivaldo, Van Basten, Gullit, Papin, Platini, Duncan Edwards, Ronaldinho, Giggs, Van Basten, Batistuta, Laudrup, Maldini, Dalglish, Ronaldo.

    oh the likes of messi, cr and rooney. i would like to wait before i say anything to soon.

    My idea of greats. My have forgotten one or two.
    Will add if good suggestion.