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Pele: 'Cristiano Ronaldo is better than Lionel Messi, but I'm the best'

Pele: 'Ronaldo better than Messi, but I'm the best'
© Reuters
Brazilian legend Pele claims that Cristiano Ronaldo is the best player in the world ahead of Lionel Messi, but insists that he himself remains the greatest of all time.

Brazilian legend Pele has given his opinion in the debate around Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, claiming that the Juventus striker is better than his perennial rival from Barcelona.

Ronaldo and Messi have shared 11 of the last 12 Ballon d'Or awards and stand head and shoulders above the rest as the best two players of their generation, also playing their way into the debate of the greatest of all time.

Pele himself is often held up as the measuring stick for that argument, and the three-time World Cup winner believes that he is still the best to have ever laced up a pair of boots, omitting his own legendary rival Diego Maradona from the list of contenders completely.

"Today the best player in the world is Cristiano Ronaldo. I think he's the best, because he's more consistent, but you can't forget about [Lionel] Messi, of course, but he's not a striker,' Pele told YouTube channel Pilhado.

"[The best of all time] is a question that is difficult to answer. We cannot forget about Zico, Ronaldinho and Ronaldo.

"And in Europe, Franz Beckenbauer and Johan Cruyff. Now, it's not my fault, but I think Pele was better than them all."

Pele currently holds the world record for most goals at a single club, having scored 643 for Santos, but Messi is closing in on that tally with 627 for Barcelona.

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Barcelona coach Johan Cruyff looks on as he is surrounded by photographers after his team defeated Dutch PSV Eindhoven in the second leg of the UEFA Cup quarter final match in Eindhoven, March 19 1996
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Wednesday's key events

· Team GB have dominated the men's coxless fours in recent Olympics, winning on each of the last five occasions, but this year they face some stiff competition. They are one of four rowing medal contenders for Great Britain today (2.10am)

· Katie Ledecky and Ariarne Titmus face off again in the women's 200m freestyle final, with the latter having already come out on top in the 400m event (2.41am)
· Team GB's Abbie Wood is among the medal contenders in the women's 200m individual medley final, while teammate Alicia Wilson will also take part. USA's Kate Douglass was the fastest qualifier, while world and Olympic record holder Katinka Hosszu is also involved (3.45am)
· Katie Ledecky could make it two golds in one morning as she goes into the 1500m freestyle final as heavy favourite, having broken the Olympic record in qualifying (3.54am)
· Team GB were by far the fastest qualifiers for the men's 4x200m freestyle relay final and will therefore be favourites for another gold in the pool (4.26am)

· Team GB take on New Zealand in the first men's semi-final, having been beaten by reigning champions Fiji but then come from behind to overcome USA on day two (3am)
· The sevens gold medal match takes place at Tokyo Stadium, with the winner of Great Britain vs. New Zealand taking on either Argentina or Fiji (10am)

· Joe Fraser and James Hall compete for Team GB in the men's all-around final (11.15am-2.10pm)

· Anna Shackley will take part in the women's road time trial (from 3.30am)
· Geraint Thomas and Tao Geoghegan Hart have medal ambitions for Great Britain in the men's road time trial, although both will need to recover from the crash they suffered on Saturday (6am)

· Jack Laugher bids to retain his men's 3m synchro diving title alongside new partner Daniel Goodfellow (7am)

· Charlotte Dujardin will look to add to her already legendary status with a third successive Olympic individual dressage title (9.30am-1.25pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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