'There’s no doubt' - Pele gives his verdict on the enduring Messi v Ronaldo debate
Brazilian soccer legend Pele has given an unequivocal verdict on the enduring debate over whether Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo deserve to be recognised as the best player in the world.
Messi and Ronaldo have been trading record breaking performances throughout their remarkable careers, with opinion constantly divided over who deserves to be hailed as the greatest player of his generation.
Ronaldo has added a few notches to his already considerable legend in the last couple of years, as he helped Portugal win Euro 2016 last summer, while he has also played a pivotal role in back-to-back Champions League wins for Real Madrid.
Meanwhile, Messi has continued to set incredibly high standards, as he finished a relatively disappointing season for his Barcelona side by winning the European Golden Boot once again as he fired home 37 goals in La Liga.
Most football legends decline offers to give their seal of approval to either of the greatest players in the modern game, but 1970 World Cup winner Pele has bucked that trend by hailing Ronaldo as the best in the world right now.
"No doubt. As I mentioned, I think today there’s no doubt the best player, the best scorer and the best forward is Cristiano Ronaldo," stated Pele, in an interview with Yahoo Sports.
In the opinion of former Ireland striker John Aldridge, Messi and Ronaldo do not need to be compared and should instead be hailed as two of the game's all-time greats.
"Instead of the tiresome debate over whether Lionel Messi or Ronaldo should be recognised as the best player of this era, we should be asking where these two incredible players rank among the all-time greats,"wrote Aldridge in his Sunday World column.
"For me, we have long since reached a point where Pele, Diego Maradona, Messi and Ronaldo are in a league of their own when we decide who the best of all-time is and all four have reasons to claim they deserve that title."
There is a storm of debate over Ronaldo's future after it emerged he has told Real Madrid he wants to quit Spanish football this summer after been charged with a €14.7m tax fraud.
Some reports in the Sunday newspapers suggests Manchester United may launch a bid to bring Ronaldo back to Old Trafford, while others are suggesting Real Madrid have no intention of selling the Portuguese superstar this summer.