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Home >> Sports
UPDATED: 13:16, November 01, 2005
Pele says he is the best player
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Brazilian soccer legend Pele re-staked his claim to be the sport's best ever player on Monday, arguing his range of goal-scoring skills was superior to Argentina's Diego Maradona.

In an interview of Italian news agency ANSA Pele said: "For 20 years they have been asking me the same question, who is the greatest? Maradona or Pele? I reply that all you have to do is look at the facts - how many goals did he score with his right foot or with his head?"

"I am the best, it's just that the Argentines can't accept it," continued Pele, who is in Rome for the opening of an exhibition marking the 100th anniversary of soccer's ruling body FIFA.

"First they pitched me against Alfredo Di Stefano, then Omar Sivori, and then Maradona. First they should decide who is the best of those three, and then they'll have to accept there is no contest."

Pele also said he has a high opinion of the current Italian national team and forecast that the Azzurri will be among the top four at next summer's World Cup in Germany.

While praising the "technical" ability of AS Roma forward Francesco Totti, he said Italy's "real phenomenon" is AC Milan defender Alessandro Nesta.

"With someone like him in the side, Brazil would be unbeatable, " he added.

The exhibition Pele inaugurated, in a famous church Santa Maria del Popolo on the edge of the capital's massive Piazza del Popolo, features shots of his choice of the 100 top living footballers, and the photos are on show for two weeks.

Recent photos of living legends like Pele, Johann Cruyff, Di Stefano, Sivori, Eusebio, Gianni Rivera, Franz Beckenbauer, Bobby Charlton, Gordon Banks, George Best, Zico, Michel Platini, Marco Van Basten and Roberto Baggio have been set up in an exhibition space next to the chapel housing Caravaggio's canvases.

Footballing stars of today - the likes of Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Michael Owen, Andriy Shevchenko, Pavel Nedved, David Trezeguet, David Beckham, Francesco Totti and Alessandro Del Piero - are among the other stars immortalised by some of the world's top photographers.

Two woman players, Michelle Akers and Mia Hamm, also make the list.

Three of the best-ever footballers, Diego Maradona, Ferenc Puskas and Gerd Muller, declined to be photographed as they are today and are shown in the prime of their playing days, the report said.

Source: Xinhua

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