• Premier League

Di Stefano: Pele better than Messi and Ronaldo

ESPN staff
September 10, 2012
Lionel Messi continues to create headlines for Barcelona © PA Photos

Legendary Real Madrid forward Alfredo Di Stefano claims Pele was better than Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Di Stefano, 86, says the Brazilian was a cut above his modern day counterparts, despite their obvious qualities. Messi, in particular, is often mentioned when it comes to discussing the best of all time, alongside Argentina great Diego Maradona.

Pele won three World Cups during his magnificent career, scoring 77 goals in 92 appearances for Brazil. Both Messi and Ronaldo are yet to truly transfer their club form to the international stage, and Di Stefano insists Pele remains the standard-setter.

"The best player ever? Pele. Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are both great players with specific qualities, but Pele was better," Di Stefano told El Colombiano.

The Argentine went on to describe the differences between the La Liga stars.

"Messi is the more technical player of the two. He's better inside the area, the way he handles the ball and dribbles. You can see that he enjoys himself playing," he said.

"Cristiano has a better body and is physically very strong. He has pace, speed and is a player with courage, and he can use both feet."

Di Stefano played over 300 games for Real Madrid, winning eight La Liga titles, and five European Cups.

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