Pele, Maradona, Messi: Who is the greatest of all time?

RIO DE JANEIRO, Dec 30 — When FIFA declared Pele and Diego Maradona jointly the gamers of the 20th century, and properly the finest of all time, they aspect-stepped but did not take care of a heated debate that has developed much more complicated as Lionel Messi has dominated the 21st century.

Just who is the finest?

Pele, who died on Thursday, and the two Argentines all gained the sport’s greatest prize — the Earth Cup — and had been undoubtedly the kings of their eras.

AFP Activity looks at who is the ideal amongst the magical Brazilian, the controversial Maradona, who handed away in November 2020 at the age of 60, and a next Argentine, the twinkling Messi who is however playing:

Triple crown v solitary titles

Pele performed in 4 Earth Cups, successful three times, a document not nevertheless beaten and supplying him just one a lot more than Maradona and Messi mixed. He was just 17 in 1958 when he was entire world winner in Sweden, scoring 6 aims, two in the final. Pele was wounded in the next match as Brazil won the 1962 Globe Cup but claimed a third title, and sealed his intercontinental popularity, in 1970 as his magical aspect conquer Italy in the Mexico Town ultimate.

Maradona, not picked in the squad that won the World Cup at home in 1978 and despatched off in a match-ending 3-1 decline to Brazil in Spain in 1982, shot to global fame in 1986 for the suitable and improper explanations. His infamous ‘Hand of God’ aim against England was followed by an person energy voted FIFA’s ‘Goal of the Century’. He scored twice in the semi-closing win over Belgium and provided the essential move in the 3-2 acquire versus West Germany in the ultimate.

Following Messi done his Planet Cup quest in Qatar this thirty day period, the ailing Pele saluted on Instagram: “Messi winning his initially World Cup, as his trajectory deserved. Diego is undoubtedly smiling.” The Argentine has a full set of big medals: a Earth Cup (2022), a Copa The united states (2021), four Champions Leagues and three Club Entire world Cups as properly as a multitude of domestic Spanish and French trophies.

Amount 10 v number 10 v quantity 10

All a few adult males wore the No 10 shirt.

Pele’s part was generally described as a “nine and a half”, his attacking abilities yielding 1,281 aims in 1,363 matches for his clubs, Santos and New York Cosmos, and the Brazilian countrywide group.

Maradona, identified as “D10S” (a word enjoy with the number 10 and God in Spanish) played in a totally free part, more the playmaker, and his job figures reflect that: 345 aims in 692 matches.

Messi, who plays a wide variety of attacking positions, has also piled up the aims: 793 in 1,003 professional matches by the stop of 2022.

Job model v a rebel and a silent youngster

Pele was the clean-minimize hero, scandal-free of charge, honourable, sporting, with a vocation invested at just two golf equipment — Santos (1956-74) and New York Cosmos (1975-77).

Maradona performed for six teams, was despatched off at the 1982 Planet Cup, scored with his hand versus England in the 1986 event, was banned in Spain for battling on the pitch, and was despatched household in shame from the 1994 Earth Cup following failing a drugs test. He also endured a cocaine dependancy.

Messi, the peaceful little one, resembled Pele in his loyalty to his initial club Barcelona until finally their cash troubles authorized Paris Saint-Germain to pry him absent in 2021. His challenges with the Spanish tax authorities and a host of sponsorship discounts have not tarnished his picture.

Moi wars

Right until they reconciled in 2016, Pele and Maradona sparred above who was the finest.

Pele has a museum. Maradona explained Pele belonged “in a museum”.

Maradona, who appreciated demonstrating off his Fidel Castro and Che Guevara tattoos, mocked the Brazilian’s regard for authority.

Pele condemned Maradona as “not staying an example” to kids simply because of his drug challenges.

The a lot more guarded Messi, as heir to Argentina’s best sporting hero, has averted suggesting he is greater than Maradona. — AFP