The title of GOAT in the world of football is a highly-debated topic with multiple players across timelines touted as the best in the long history of the sport.
Argentine World Cup winner Lionel Messi’s latest accomplishments and his career records throughout his time at the top make him a worthy candidate for the honour.
Another player who has been in the debate is the legendary Diego Maradona, who also claimed the FIFA World Cup for the South American nation. Maradona is discussed with high regard in football circles and his legacy lasts well beyond his time.
Follow all the action from the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 including the World Cup schedule, World Cup 2023 results, and ICC Cricket World Cup points table. Players are vying to top the World Cup 2023 Most Runs and World Cup 2023 Most Wickets charts.
Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic church, who hails from Argentina, was quizzed about his opinion regarding the topic and was asked who he thinks is the greatest player of all time.
The cleric, who was expected to name either Maradona or Messi, added another legendary name to the mix, as he named Brazilian legend Pele in the discussion too.
“I would add a third, Pele. They are the three I have followed. All three are great, each with his own specialty,” the 86-year-old religious head said.
Pope Francis also reflected on the melancholic tale of Maradona and his harsh downfall.
“Maradona as a man failed, poor thing, he slipped, and the people around him didn’t help him,” he said.
“He came to see me the first year [I was pontiff]. [His life] ended badly. It’s funny, many sportsmen end badly, even in boxing. It’s curious,” added the Pope.
The Pope also termed Messi a gentleman, as he has conducted himself with high integrity throughout his illustrious career.
“At the moment Messi is very good. Messi is very correct, he is a gentleman,” Pope Francis expressed.
The Pope went on to state that Pele was the finest gentleman of the three and spoke about the three-time World Cup winner’s magnanimous heart.
“Among these three, the greatest gentleman is Pele. He is a man with a very big heart. I spoke to him, I met him on a plane in Buenos Aires, and he is a man of great humanity.”