Rio de Janeiro, June 14 (IANS) Brazilian football legend Pele believes Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo is the No.1 player in the world right now but feels sorry that there are just two big names in football at present.
“At the moment the best player in the world is Ronaldo. I admire him, if I had to set up a national team he would be my first pick.
But in the meantime I feel sorry because today and the last five years, you just mention two big stars (Ronaldo and Lionel Messi). Some years ago, you had a lot of players,” Pele was quoted as saying by dailymail.co.uk on Monday.
The three-time World Cup winner said the lack of superstars in global football is not good for the game.
“George Best, Bobby Moore, Jairzinho, Bobby Charlton, Pele, Zico, Beckenbauer, Cruyff, Zidane, Maradona. Now you say Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi – Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi. It’s not too good for football,” he said.
He however, did not wish to compare himself to Diego Maradona or Cristiano Ronaldo due to the difference in era but more importantly due to their different roles.
“Maradona, myself, it’s a little bit different than him,” Pele said.
“Cristiano is higher up the pitch, more central, more direct, more for scoring. But what is important is he is a player who decides the game. He is a player who scores goals. That’s the same.”
“But we can not compare Pele and Maradona with Cristiano because we were players who came from behind. We played deeper. He plays in front.”
Pele also said it is the same reason why Messi and Ronaldo can not be compared as they play contrasting style of football.
“It’s the same with Messi. They are two players with completely different styles. Messi is playing more from midfield, he is an excellent player and passer. But Ronaldo is more forward, the No.9, the striker. He has a different style to Messi,” he added.